What looked like a possibility became a certainty Friday night when JaJuan Seider left Marshall’s football staff to become running backs coach at WVU.
But was it really much of a surprise?
Seider has two degrees from WVU, began his collegiate career there before transferring to Florida A&M and was a graduate assistant there. And then there’s the money. Reports had former WVU RB Coach Robert Gillespie making $300,000 annually before he left for Tennessee. If Seider gets anywhere near that, that’s exponentially more than the shade above $90,000 he was making at Marshall.
So what does this mean for the Thundering Herd? It means Head Coach Doc Holliday has less than three weeks before spring practice begins on March 26 to fill the void. Will he cut it as close as Dana Holgorsen did in hiring Seider? WVU’s spring practice begins Sunday.
As for replacing a departed assistant, Holliday hasn’t been sweating it the last few times he’s had to do it this offseason. Here’s what he said after Anthony Midget left Marshall’s staff for Penn State after just 10 days on the job:
We hire good coaches. It’s a compliment to us. We hire great people and we’ll hire another great coach.
Those new hires since the season ended? There’s former Temple defensive coordinator Chuck Heater, former FIU offensive line coach Alex Mirabal, former UT-Chattanooga defensive coordinator Adam Fuller and former Kentucky Christian University head coach and NFC receptions leader Mike Furrey. That’s a pretty good crew of coaches, so there’s no reason to think that trend won’t continue.
I’m sure Holliday won’t be hurting for resumes, either, considering the young talent Marshall has in its backfield. Running back Kevin Grooms was Conference USA’s freshman of the year and the Herd returns its top four rushers. Here’s how deep that running back roster is: Marshall’s fourth running back, Essray Taliaferro, ran for 130 yards and a touchdown against East Carolina.
And what of the talent-rich South Florida recruiting region that Seider patrolled during his Marshall tenure? Heater reeled in plenty of recruits while a Florida assistant, Mirabal coached at Miami Braddock and Miami Christopher Columbus high schools before joining FIU’s staff and Fuller earned praise from UTC head coach Russ Huesman for his work in recruiting Florida.
Sure, the clock is ticking for Holliday to find a replacement, but I don’t think any panic should set in just yet.