MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — In a season that the Jacksonville State Gamecocks were predicted to win only a few games, Rich Rodriguez has led his team to a 7-2 record in the program’s very first year in the FBS. In his two seasons at Jacksonville State, Rodriguez is 16-4 overall and 10-1 in conference play, and he has exceeded all expectations. With this level of success, Rodriguez, who is seen as one of the most brilliant offensive minds in college football history, will start to get looks from Power 5 programs again. If Neal Brown is fired following the season, as expected, West Virginia will certainly give Rodriguez real consideration for the following reasons:
He’s Proven That He Can Build a Successful Program Again
Winning at Jacksonville State might not be the greatest accomplishment in the world, but it’s important to remember that the team went 5-6 prior to Rodriguez taking over and he has completely turned the program around. After struggling at Michigan and having only average results at Arizona, it was important that Rodriguez show that he can still build a program at 60 years old, and he’s done that.
Major Booster/Donor Support
Rodriguez may not be liked by a large portion of the fanbase, but he’s beloved by many supporters of the Mountaineers. In fact, Ken Kendrick, the billionaire owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and a West Virginia University alum, is reportedly a huge Rich Rodriguez supporter and it’s been rumored that he would cut the check for Neal Brown’s contract buyout if West Virginia would hire Rodriguez as his replacement. Although that could only be a rumor, there are many old-school supporters of the team that long for the glory days under Rodriguez who would be thrilled with him returning home to lead the Mountaineers.
Imagine the Current Roster in Rich Rod’s Offense
Garrett Greene in Rich Rodriguez’s offense would be dynamic. Rodriguez is an absolute genius at putting mobile quarterbacks in position to make plays, and Garrett Greene is one of the most explosive players in the Big 12 Conference. Rodriguez and Greene together, combined with a strong offensive line and ultra-talented young skill players like Rodney Gallagher and Traylon Ray would be extremely difficult to stop.
He’ll Return Home Cheaply
Neal Brown makes over $4 million a year right now and Rich Rodriguez makes $800,000 at Jacksonville State. Double Rodriguez’s salary, pay him $1.6 million with an incentive-laden deal, and West Virginia would still save over $2 million a year. Hiring Rich Rodriguez does come with a certain level of risks, so Wren Baker could give him a 1 or 2 year deal with a very low contract buyout that heavily favors the university.