Ten candidates for head football coach in Virginia

By on December 4, 2021 0


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The 2021 college football season was one of the most unpredictable seasons in college football history. There have been countless upheavals and it is possible that three new teams will make the college football qualifiers this year.

What has perhaps been even more surprising is the savage coaching carousel that has taken place in college football over the past few weeks. There have been several coaching changes involving some of the sport’s most notable names and some of the country’s biggest programs.

One head coaching position that no one expected to be vacant at this point is the Virginia football head coach position. After six seasons at Charlottesville, including five in which the Cavaliers were eligible for bowling, Bronco Mendenhall shocked everyone and announced his resignation seemingly out of nowhere.

Suddenly UVA has to scramble and find their next head soccer coach and at this point, that’s anyone’s best guess.

We have endeavored to compile a shortlist of 10 candidates for the newly vacant position of Head Football Coach at the University of Virginia:

Anthony Poindexter, Defensive Co-Coordinator and Safety Coach at Penn State

It’s the name everyone has been talking about since Mendenhall stepped down on Thursday. UVA fans have been waiting for several seasons for Anthony Poindexter to return to Charlottesville for a role on the coaching staff. Poindexter has had a legendary playing career in Virginia. He made the iconic Warrick Dunn goal-line tackle to inflict Florida State’s first-ever loss to the ACC in 1995. Poindexter’s No.3 jersey retired in Virginia and he will soon be inducted at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame as well as at the College. Football Hall of Fame. Poindexter also won Super Bowl XXXV as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. He began his coaching career at Virginia in 2003 and spent 11 seasons at the AVU in a variety of roles including running back coach, special teams coordinator, defensive back coach and safety coach. Since then, he’s been a defensive co-coordinator and safety coach at Connecticut, Purdue and Penn State, where he has been since February 2021. He is seen as a promising young coordinator in college football and will likely secure a head coach position. in the near future, but the question is, should her first head coaching position be in Virginia and will UVA athletic director Carla Williams make this offer? The only obvious downside for Virginia is that Poindexter doesn’t have any head coaching experience, but his UVA roots run extremely deep, which might be just what the Cavaliers need right now.

Marques Hagans, wide receivers coach at Virginia

Hagans has been in Virginia since before the start of the Bronco Mendenhall era. An assistant graduate from 2011-2012, he became a wide receivers coach in 2013 and served in that role during the terms of Mike London and Bronco Mendenhall. Hagans has been responsible for the development of some extremely talented wide receivers including Darius Jennings, Canaan Severin, Olamide Zaccheaus, Joe Reed, Hasise Dubois, Terrell Jana and Lavel Davis Jr., not to mention the current crop of receivers on the 2021. List UVA. Virginia has the No. 2 passing offense in the nation this season and there are five Cavaliers with 500 or more receiving yards this season, including Dontayvion Wicks, who is 12th nationally in receptions with 1,203 yards. Although Hagans does not have prior experience as a head coach, his promotion from within will allow the program to maintain a sense of continuity and momentum and will help ease the culture shock caused by the loss. by Bronco Mendenhall.

Jason Beck, quarterbacks coach at Virginia

Just as Hagans has been praised for his role in developing Virginia receivers, Jason Beck should be credited with developing Virginia quarterbacks in recent years. Beck came to Charlottesville with BYU’s Bronco Mendenhall, where Beck also played a central role in Taysom Hill’s progression. At UVA, Beck has done a masterful job orchestrating an incredible progression of record quarterbacks. Prior to Beck’s arrival in 2016, Virginia had never had a quarterback pass for over 3,000 yards in a season. Kurt Benkert did it in 2017, Bryce Perkins did it in 2019, and Brennan Armstrong broke the previous record with 4,449 passing yards this season and he still has one more chance to add to that total in the UVA bowl game. Benkert, Perkins and Armstrong have each become extraordinary quarterbacks, and while much of that has to be attributed to their hard work and talent, Beck deserves substantial credit for his work over the past six seasons in Virginia. If not as a head coach, Virginia should do her best to keep both Jason Beck and Marques Hagans on the coaching staff.

Jamey Chadwell, Head Coach of Coastal Carolina

Jamey Chadwell is certainly at the top of the list for many ADs who are currently looking to fill head coach positions in college football. Chadwell was named AP College Football Coach of the Year in 2020 after taking Coastal Carolina to an 11-1 record in just his second season and just one year after going 5-7 in his first season. The Chanticleers finished the regular season with a 10-2 record in 2021. Chadwell has plenty of experience as a head coach, including winning seasons at North Greenville, Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina. He has not been on the staff of any major college football program, but there is no doubt that he will be a leading name in the coaching market for many Power Five schools. UVA would have to win the auction war in order to get Chadwell to choose Virginia over other schools and convince him to leave a favorable contract and position he currently has at Coastal Carolina.

Curt Cignetti – head coach of James Madison

Cignetti has been a head coach for 11 seasons. In each of those 11 seasons at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Division II), Elon, and JMU, he had a record over 0.500. At JMU, Cignetti is 31-4 overall in three years, including a 10-1 record this season. Cignetti is an attractive candidate for UVA as he has spent the last three seasons coaching and recruiting in the Commonwealth and also spent time as a coordinator with an ACC program when he was with NC State from 2000-2006. is expected to move from FCS to FBS, but JMU is already considering making that transition as a program, moving to the Sun Belt Conference in a transition that will begin after this season.

Josh Gattis, Michigan offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach

Gattis has been a high performing coordinator at several schools since 2011. He has made stops in Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan, primarily as an offensive coordinator and wide receiver coach. Gattis hasn’t held any head coaching positions before, but he has enjoyed significant success in some of college football’s biggest programs. This season, he’s trapped the Wolverines in a top-20 attack and they beat Ohio State 42-27 in the regular season finale. Michigan is playing for a Big Ten Championship this weekend, which would also earn the program its first-ever college football playoff spot.

Dan Lanning, defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach at Georgia

This one is kind of a no-brainer, considering the Bulldogs’ unprecedented level of defense played under Lanning this season. Georgia finished the regular season with just 83 points overall. If you doubled that total, it would still be less points allowed than the country’s second best defense. Lanning is young at 35, but he already had a remarkable three-year career in Georgia. His name will likely be passed on for many notable coaching positions, even without any head coaching experience.

Jim Leonard, Defensive Coordinator and Safety Coach in Wisconsin

Leonard has only been coaching since 2016, when he retired from the NFL, but his resume as a defensive-minded coach already speaks for itself. Wisconsin has had one of the best defenses in the country year after year. This season, the Badgers have the nation’s second ranked defense. You’ll see a lot of defensive coordinators on the rest of this list. A quick glance at Virginia’s defensive numbers over the past two seasons should explain this clearly.

Jim Knowles, Defensive Coordinator at Oklahoma State

Knowles has been coaching since 1988, including at Ole Miss, Duke and Oklahoma State, where he has been the defensive coordinator since 2018. The Cowboys have seen significant defensive improvements under Knowles’ leadership year after year. This season, Oklahoma State has the No. 3 ranked defense in the country and the Cowboys are potentially one win in the Big 12 title game away from securing a berth in the college football playoffs. Knowles has known the ACC for his eight seasons at Duke from 2010 to 2017 and was also a head coach at Cornell from 2004 to 2009.

Mike Elko, Defensive Coordinator and Safety Coach at Texas A&M

In his coaching career, which began in 1999, Elko ticked several boxes that may seem appealing to Virginia for a variety of reasons. He was a defensive coordinator at Richmond for a few seasons, so he’s no total stranger to the training and recruiting scene in Virginia. He was on the staff of Wake Forest from 2014 to 2016, so he has experience as a coach with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Elko spent a season as defensive coordinator at Notre Dame in 2017, before joining Texas A&M, where he has been since. In 2020, the Aggies led the SEC in total defense and finished second in the conference in passing defense and rushing defense. This would be Elko’s first head coach position, but more than two decades of coaching experience, including several years in major college football programs, will have prepared Elko well to be the head coach. of a Power Five school.


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