Connect with us

WVU Football

Koenning’s Duties to be Distributed Among WVU’s Coaching Staff, No New Hire to be Made

Cody Nespor

Published

on

In a press release this afternoon, West Virginia football and head coach Neal Brown announced that no new hirings will be made to replace former defensive coordinator Vic Koenning for the 2020 season. Instead, Brown will redistribute some responsibilities among the existing members of his staff.

Last Wednesday it was announced that Koenning and WVU had agreed to split following an investigation into Koenning’s conduct. Koenning had been on administrative leave since June 23 following accusations of mistreatment and racism by sophomore safety Kerry Martin. Koenning was the team’s defensive coordinator and safeties coach.

Nearly every member of Brown’s defensive staff will have new or expanded responsibilities for 2020. The only coach who will retain his original duties will be inside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Jeff Koonz. Koonz was one of two new hires Brown made to the defensive staff this offseason.

“Given the timing and unique circumstances surrounding the pandemic, we are going to divide responsibilities and use a committee approach,” Brown said in the release.

Koenning’s coordinator duties will be split between Jordan Lesley and Jahmile Addae.

Lesley will move from coaching the defensive line to overseeing the “front of the defense”. Lesley has been with Brown for his entire division one coaching career, joining Brown’s staff at Troy in 2016. Lesley coached Troy’s defensive tackles in 2016-17 and then the defensive line in 2018, coming with Brown to WVU in the same role in 2019.

Lesley has served as a coordinator before, as East Mississippi Community College’s defensive coordinator from 2013-15 and as Kilgore College’s defensive coordinator in 2011.

While Lesley handles the front of the defense, Addae will oversee the back. Brown hired Addae to join his staff as the secondary coach when Brown was first hired in 2019. Addae was one of the few assistant coaches that did not accompany Brown from his time at Troy, instead coming to WVU after a season coaching the defensive backs at Minnesota in 2018.

Addae has never been a coordinator, serving as an analyst and defensive backs coach at Arizona prior to his time at Minnesota. Already coaching the Mountaineer secondary, Addae might be able to take over Koenning’s duty coaching the safeties without much issue.

Wright was the other new defensive coach that Brown hired in January. Wright came to WVU from Western Michigan, where he spent two seasons coaching safeties and one season as the co-special team coordinator, his first coaching division one coaching job.

Like Lesley, Wright has been a coordinator at lower levels of college football. In 2016 Wright coached defensive ends and was the special teams coordinator at Tennessee Tech. In 2017 Wright also added defensive coordinator duties to his workload. Wright was also the defensive coordinator Morehead State in 2015 and the special teams coordinator from 2013-15.

To replace Koenning’s duty coaching safeties, Dontae Wright will move from coaching the outside linebackers to coaching safeties this season. Wright was the other new defensive coach other than Koonz that Brown hired this offseason. Wright has experience coaching safeties, coming to WVU from Western Michigan, where he spent two seasons coaching safeties and one season as the co-special team coordinator, his first coaching division one coaching job.

Like Lesley, Wright has been a coordinator at lower levels of college football. In 2016 Wright coached defensive ends and was the special teams coordinator at Tennessee Tech. In 2017 Wright also added defensive coordinator duties to his workload. Wright was also the defensive coordinator Morehead State in 2015 and the special teams coordinator from 2013-15.

Finally, to replace Wight at outside linebacker, defensive analyst Jeff Casteel will be promoted to an on-field coaching position. Casteel was making his return to the Mountaineers this season. Casteel was most recently the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Nevada for the past three seasons. Before that he was the defensive coordinator at Arizona from 2012-16.

His time at WVU came from 2001-11. In 2001 Casteel was the defensive line coach then the co-defensive coordinator in 2002 and finally the defensive coordinator from 2003-11. Casteel coached under former WVU head coaches Rich Rodriguez, Bill Stewart and Dana Holgorsen. He left WVU following the Mountaineers’ Orange Bowl victory in 2012 to reconnect with Rodriguez at Arizona.

Welcome to the new home of WVU football and basketball breaking news, analysis and recruiting. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and check us out on YouTube. And don't forget to subscribe for all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Cody is currently a second-year graduate student at West Virginia University studying journalism. His graduate research focuses on the effects newspaper closures have on local communities. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Get WVSN in your mailbox!

Enter your email address to subscribe to WVSN and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Sign up for the best in WVU sports!

Subscribe to WVSN today and get all of our posts directly in your inbox the second they're published.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Send this to a friend