In not so surprising news, West Virginia is hoping to have a new head coach for the football program within days. According to a report from MetroNews, the WVU Athletics Director Shane Lyons would ideally like to have a replacement for Dana Holgorsen, who was whisked away by Houston, by the weekend.
“We’re going to be thorough, but at the same time, we’re going to be swift,” Lyons said.
The good news for West Virginia fans is Lyons was able to get a jump on the coaching search process, which has now reportedly included formal interviews with Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell, Troy head coach Neal Brown, and West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. This is because the speculation Holgorsen was going to leave the program for Houston was running rampant enough as Houston waited out the drop in Holgorsen’s buyout to fall to $1 million on January 1. Even though Lyons knew nothing could become official at Houston until the drop in the buyout and Houston took care of some formalities behind the scenes, Lyons was aware of the need to be acting on a search.
It can always be tricky having to conduct a coaching search this time of the year because the coaching carousel had mostly come to a rest, however, Fickell and Brown are intriguing candidates that are more than likely going to one-day get an opportunity to coach at a power conference. Fickell has had one year coaching a power conference program when he was named the interim head coach at Ohio State following the dismissal of former Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel and prior to the hiring of the now former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.
Fickell’s one season as a head coach at Ohio State was a challenge and the Buckeyes went 6-7, but six years later he got his first chance to become a head coach again at Cincinnati. In two years at Cincinnati, Fickell brought the Bearcats back to being one of the top programs in the AAC with a record of 11-2 this past season. Brown has just wrapped up his fourth season as head coach at Troy with a cumulative record of 35-16 and three straight bowl victories.