Major College Football Program Reportedly Close To Hire After 3 Interviews

first_imgWill Grier of the West Virginia Mountaineers takes the field against the Iowa State Cyclones at Mountaineer Field.MORGANTOWN, WV – NOVEMBER 04: Will Grier #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers takes the field against the Iowa State Cyclones at Mountaineer Field on November 04, 2017 in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)With word leaking out that Dana Holgorsen would take the job at Houston a few days ago, athletic director Shane Lyons has wasted little time in finding West Virginia football’s next head coach.Holgorsen leaves WVU after eight seasons at the helm of the Mountaineers, finishing with a 61-41 record, and 38-32 mark in the Big 12. His Mountaineers lost in this year’s Camping World Bowl to Syracuse.While a willing move from the Big 12 to the AAC is a curious one for a coach, the Cougars are reportedly paying Holgorsen a record deal for a Group of Five coach.For those who thought his tenure at WVU had grown stagnant, this could be seen as a mutually beneficially opportunity for Holgorsen and the Mountaineers.According to a new report, we are very close to finding out who the program’s next head coach will be.Neal Brown, Luke Fickell, and Tony Gibson have reportedly been interviewed for the West Virginia football job in the last two days.Brown and Fickell are the successful young coaches at Troy and Cincinnati, respectively. Gibson is the current defensive coordinator in Morgantown. A hire could come by this weekend.From WV MetroNews:West Virginia administrators are wrapping up a 48-hour period in which they staged interviews with Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell, Troy’s Neal Brown and current Mountaineers defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. The aim is to name a replacement for football coach Dana Holgorsen by the weekend.“We’re going to be thorough, but at the same time, we’re going to be swift,” athletics director Shane Lyons said Thursday.Lyons had known for several days that Holgorsen was taking the job at Houston, but Holgorsen’s reps did not give West Virginia official notice until after 2 p.m. on Wednesday. In the meantime, Lyons began vetting candidates.“We were hoping everything would happen quicker on the other end, but it wasn’t and I couldn’t slow down,” Lyons said.Brown has made waves at the Group of Five levels with his Trojans’ wins at LSU and Nebraska over the last two years. A number of analysts have called him the clear choice for the job.Fickell is familiar with WVU President Gordon Gee from both of their lengthy tenures at Ohio State. Lyons says that Gee is directly involved in the hiring process. Fickell served as the interim coach for the Buckeyes between Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer’s tenures, and coached under Meyer until he took the Cincinnati job before last season.His Bearcats went 11-2 this season with a Military Bowl win over Virginia Tech.Gibson has the players’ vote, as coaches already on staff so often do in these situations. Per the report, he is a “longshot” for the head coaching job, though.West Virginia finished 74th in total defense and 67th in scoring defense this year, surrendering 138 total points to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Syracuse during WVU’s 0-3 finish to the year.It is unclear if other coaches could get involved for the job, but Brown and Fickell are particularly solid candidates who would continue to get big-time looks going forward.[WV MetroNews]last_img

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