Texas State hires West Virginia offensive coordinator Jake Spavital as next coach
Spavital coordinated a top-10 offense at West Virginia in 2018
West Virginia is in the market for an offensive coordinator. Jake Spavital is leaving the Mountaineers to become the head coach at Texas State, the school announced after a report from Bruce Feldman of the Athletic. Furthermore, Feldman reports that Spavital could bring offensive innovator and journeyman Bob Stitt to San Marcos to lead the Bobcats' offense.
Should it come to fruition, the timing of this promotion is interesting, and frankly, probably good for both Spavital and West Virginia. On paper, Spavital has an impressive resume that suggests he's ready to take the next step in his career. The 2018 season marked his 11th as an assistant and he's coached under such offensive minds as Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy, Kevin Sumlin at Houston and Texas A&M, and obviously Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia. This year, the Mountaineers finished in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense and total offense. For his efforts, Spavital was a Broyles Award semifinalist for the nation's top assistant coach.
And, yet, there was grumbling among the fanbase over Spavital's situational play-calling. In particular, the Mountaineers, for all their big-play ability, struggled in short-yardage situations. The interior of the offensive line was a concern from Week 1, but West Virginia consistently had a hard time getting a yard when it absolutely needed one. The most glaring example came in a loss to Oklahoma State when WVU twice stalled inside the Cowboys' 10-yard line on fourth-and-1 and third-and-1 situations.
Spavital was never on any kind of hot seat, though, and he's widely considered an assistant on the rise. This is a natural time to part ways with Holgorsen and West Virginia. As a strong recruiter with Texas ties, this is a good starting spot for Spavital, though Texas State comes with its share of difficulties.
Now, the attention turns to what Holgorsen chooses to do next offensively. He has called his own plays in the past and could do so again, but he handed things off to Spavital two years ago to take some of the pressure off of the balancing act that comes with managing the entire game. Another frontrunner would be former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. The two coaches go back to their days as assistants under Sumlin at Houston and they remain close, but Kingsbury might be the most coveted offensive name on the market at both the college and NFL levels. He'll have his choice of jobs, both as an offensive coordinator and perhaps as a head coach.
There's also a question as to whether Holgorsen will be West Virginia's coach in 2019. He's already been loosely connected to jobs at Texas Tech and Colorado, though the former. This year's Power Five coaching carousel isn't spinning all that fast, though, so Holgorsen is likely angling for a new contract.
In any case, 2019 figures to be somewhat of a rebuilding year without quarterback Will Grier and top wide receivers David Sills and Gary Jennings. Now they'll do so without Spavital.
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