MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With his first spring football practice approaching at West Virginia, new assistant coach Damon Codgell sounds more relaxed and relieved than you’d expect.

“The biggest thing for me, I only have one position group to worry about,” said Cogdell, who spent 14 years coaching at the high school level—the past 12 in an expanding role at Miramar (Fla.) High School.

“From being the head coach to the defensive coordinator, and a positions coach and also athletic director, there was much more I had to get prepared for,” he said. “So I’m pretty excited that I only have one position to worry about.”

Of course that position group remains unofficial. Since his January hiring, Cogdell has been identified only as a defensive assistant, though sources said he is expected to coach linebackers, the position he played at West Virginia. Head coach Dana Holgorsen has yet to make official the promotion of Tony Gibson to defensive coordinator—a move MetroNews reported last week—and external candidates have interviewed for defensive line coach’s job vacated when Erik Slaughter was fired.

Cogdell, who joined the ‘Statewide Sportsline’ crew Monday night, recounted his busy first month as a college coach—a month that included recruiting his familiar territory in south Florida, where his eight-year record as head coach at Miramar was 72-19.

“It’s almost unfair because a lot of those coaches have known me for a long time and they know I’m going to take real good care of their kids if they come into Morgantown,” he said.

As West Virginia enters Year 3 in the Big 12, Cogdell said the escape from the Big East has revitalized recuriting.

“When you put the American Conference (against) the Big 12 conference, it’s like a no-brainer,” he said. “It’s a great recruiting tool. We have all of our games on television, play against some big-time teams and we’re able to compete for a national title. I think that’s very big to have that Big 12 stamp on your jersey week in and week out.”

Between Cogdell and running backs coach JaJuan Sieder, WVU has a well-known connections in Florida that could mitigate the advantage other Big 12 schools have in Texas. (Of the 187 high school recruits that were signed in the Big 12 this year, 108 of those players were from Texas.)

“(Sieder) calls us the ‘Bad Boys’ and I think it’s going to be a good challenge for us,” Cogdell said. “JaJuan and I went to college together so it’s just like a bond that we already have prior. I think him and I are going to do a great job in south Florida.”

After the Mountaineers signed five Florida players in the 2014 class, Cogdell is looking for more high-impact recruits to follow.

“I want to get a kid that’s a five-star that was wanting to go to Alabama or LSU and then all of a sudden changes their mind,” Cogdell said. “Our goal is to get these guys on campus to see how West Virginia is.”

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  • westfair518

    Great storyline, Allan!!!!!!!!

  • RickeyT

    Look, high school recruits from the state of Florida may not be any better or of a higher quality than any single recruit from any other state, but there are just so many more of them to pick from. And I think we would be making a mistake by not recruiting the gold mine that is Texas and other Big12 areas, but other Big12 schools don't really recruit Florida so that may be an advantage if they are high quality recruits. I have a low opinion of DH however, for reasons too numerous to state at this time. That's why I said Coach Cogdell may very well outlast DH as a Mountaineer.

    • mad hatter

      dumb dumb dumb,, we have wasted enough time in texas you idiot

  • Mountaineer Fanatic

    If a person wanted to see how WVU is doing for the future I think they should compare them with people the team played against in the past. Who is improving faster type thing. Compare the Mountaineers new recruits with those who just joined Pitt and Syracuse. Syracuse got a lot of people from Florida, but they are all 2 and 3 star. We can not compare to Alabama at this time, but that does not mean we will never compare. Anyway, we need to get better each year so we can compare to the others in the Big 12. We did better this year than we did last year and we will continue to grow. That is if our fans don't run off prospective players with their negativity. Support our team

  • jay zoom


  • Herder

    It is not the Big 12 that is the problem with many of us fans. Coach Holgy is the problem! When we get a real Division 1 coach, then fans will be able to see the worth of the 25 million. For a fan, 25 million means nothing when you have a terrible football team. If one follows rich school with millions upon millions, sign up for Ivy League Football!

  • Alex

    I don't see much difference where the players come from as long as that's where they want to be.1200 Miles or 1000 miles from home. Rating a ballplayer five-star,four star,three star, is only an opinion of someone. Look at ESPN they may have a young man rated three-star,the next group may have the same guy rated four star, next group may have a five star. Some people put too much in on those ratings I remember we had in my mine at West Virginia just recently five stars when they left, where they are now in the NFL Smith, Bailey, Austin, when they came to WVU they were only rated 3 star. Austin was a 4 star not sure about.JUST OPINION.....

  • RickeyT

    I like Cogdell and his south Florida connections. This Florida gravy train, ala Doc, can only help us in the long run. My guess is that Coach Cogdell may well outlast DH as a Mountaineer.

  • Dub V Fan

    I believe Holgs (with probable input from Luck) finally realized that he and old staff, who have moved on, could not pull 4 to 5 star recruits to WVU from TX and gulf states which he and old/past staff were familiar with. Top notch recruits for Big 12 play from those states were going to UT,TT,TCU, Baylor, OU or headed to SEC teams. coaches with past WVU connections and recruiting were brought in to grab the 4 to 5 star recruits from OH, PA, VA and especially talent rich FL (ie Sieder and Cogdell).

  • mad hatter

    Over the next few yrs. we will have big time money coming to our program,,, we need to use that to hire bigtime ,proven ,experienced coaches, that aren't in need of OJT.

    We don't have time to wait on some coaches to learn college coaching,, ,, cogdell could have gone to fau or fairmont state, and learned his trade before we brought him into the fold... that's all i'm saying,, if we want to be big time we have to start hiring big time coaches... yes , cogdell may do great ,, but just look at what has happened recently,,, holgie, in over his head,,, remember that harvard kid as the db coach, what a failure,,we have to learn from our mistakes..

    • J the C

      As usual, hatter, you display your lack of major college football savvy on your sleeve. This ain't Marshall! Cogdens experience at Miramar puts him on a level equal to major NCAA football.

      • mad hatter

        first of all, who the heck is cogden?
        And second, since when was any high school on the same level as div 1 college football?
        In that statement along, you proved ur a total and complete idiot with absolutely no conception of what college football is all about. Sad,, go back to Logan

  • pirate

    it would be a good time for MetroNews to go to facebook postings to get real fans of football on board

    • mad hatter

      i think this is just fine,, what's the problem,, you from trollville ,wv?

  • David Elswick

    At first, Dana said WVu would recruit in the Big12 footprint. Bad move. Would a kid really grow up hearing about a school, and when they come to recruit him, turn down that school for one 1,200 miles away. In them eastern hills where few family and freinds would ever see him play?

    When WVU joined the Big12, WVU was 3-0 in BCS football bowl games. The ACC was 3-13 in BCS bowl games. WVU should have continued to recruit from the ACC and Big East footprints and pointed out to the kids that they could play against better competition in the Big 12. Instead of getting the 2 or 3 star recruits from the ACC/Big EAst footprint, WVU could have gone after the 4 or 5 star recruits.

    Now - finally - WVU is going to this target. But by now Florida State has won the national title, and the ACC schools are playing more SEC teams - its a harder sell to convince the kids that going to WVU is better.

    • mad hatter

      well said sir

  • Lou

    I like his attitude in that he is not walking in the door and settling for the status quo. By this, I mean he is not seeking out just the average to below average kid. He wants to bring in Texas, Oklahoma or FSU type talent. That is the mindset all of our guys need to have. Damon will help Seider with better offensive talent as well. Having an offensive mind like Holgerson directing our offense, and our skill level dropped as his people only knew how to recruit Texas. 2014 begins a turnaround on the offensive side, so now, Damon needs to kick some recruiting butt to catch up with Tony & Brian and then the turnaround on the defense will be complete.

  • WVU_93

    I guess everyone will understand the Big 12 move when the $25 million dollar check arrives this year for the TV contract.

    • Justin

      you want a tissue?

    • GoEers

      absolutely.......and glad that WVU is sharing the pie with only 9 other teams...why add another team unless it is able to provide 35 million in value

    • Mister Man

      Heck yeh!!!!

  • Ole Sasquatch

    Well I say we should be independent and play who ever we want to play. (Penn. St., Pitt, Va. Tech. etc.) In case you all don't remember the state motto Mountaineers Always Free (that's our spirit). Stand tall or don't stand at all. I will let you all worry about the money part of things and the logic of big time football. That being said Howard Skylar will lead us in football this year.
    Now enough from me, I want to hear from that Mad Hater.

    • Jim

      Penn St. and VT are on the docket + we get the opportunity to play in the Big 12. To heck with being "independent". That's stupid in today's economy.

    • Capt Obvious

      Your football program would lose $20 mil per year and your other sports would have no place to play. Other than that, great idea Harry.

    • Alex

      @ Sasquatch always liked your post you got a real good intelligent football experience background person and I agree 99.9% of your post, would like to say one thing is West Virginia probably could survive if in football only, but for all the other sports we participate in they need a conference . For example look at how it has been for Notre Dame , They needed the Big East and now the a ACC for all the other sports program ...One more thing the TV contract that the Big 12 has with TV we would miss that being independent.

  • Charlie

    I still say that Luck jumped the gun by getting WVU into the Big 12. We don't belong there. Fans, unless you are rich, can't travel to away games. And the travel costs have to be enormous. It's not just football they have to deal with, what about all the non revenue sports such as baseball and most of the women's teams. I think if we had waited one more year we might have been invited to the ACC or Big 10. Maybe. Could have even been SEC. All of those make more sense to me. Right now we have no rivals like Pitt and others. And we can't drive to away games. Flying is the only way and that is cost prohibitive and out of reach for many WVU fans. Now we're stuck in a conference that we don't belong in.

    • mark

      the acc didn't want us. check your history they left us out when they left the southern confrence years ago. they think we are a bunch of hillbillies and they are to much above us socially and accademically. They could care less about our success on the field. Get real they were never going to ask us to join. Luck did the best he could do.

    • Jim

      How many away games did any of us make when WV was in the Big East?

    • Justin

      i say charlie you have no idea what youre talking about. that is why you probably work @ mcdonalds managing the fry station.. have a good day, dont get burnt!

    • Jim

      You are certainly entitiled to your opinion, but the ACC and Big Ten have made it obvious several times that they are not interested in WV...we would probably end up being independent and that would probably be a financial where we are and just be thankful that the games are televised.

      • GoEers

        Or worse, WVU cpuld have ended up in Conference USA and instead of flying to Oklahoma to play OK or OK St, they would be playing Tulsa. Instead of flying to Texas to play UT, Baylor, or Texas Tech, they would be playing UT-San Antonio, North Texas, or UTEP.

        I for one am very happy they are in the big 12 and are reaping huge financial benefits from the tv contract.

    • David Elswick

      ACC turned WVU down twice. WVU's academics was not high enough. (Note: WVU was 3-0 in BCS football bowl games, the ACC was 3-13).

      Big1G didn't want WVU because we are not a member of the research school system. Both Marykand & Rutgers are. And they both bring more tv sets when negotiating media rights deals.

      The SEC? Nick Saban, former WVU coach, lobbied for WVU. But the SEC was loking westward.

      That left either staying in the Big East or courting the Big 12. WVU paid a high price to get on the last train out of the Big East before it crumbled. For now, it was worth the price.

      If not for the snooty attitude of the ACC, I think WVU is a better fit with them and has a long playing history with teams in the conference.

      • Duane Morgantown

        The ACC can't use academics as the reason for not letting us in. Miami and Florida State proves that argument.

        • packyeers

          The real reason we are not wanted in the ACC is that Va. Tech never will want us in. They have the clout with in the ACC and they do not like WVU.

      • mad hatter

        that pretty much says it all,,, it wasn't as if conferences were beating down our door to get us,,,,thank goodness the big 12 , via some congressional pressure, ask us to come in.
        i wonder if they are now regretting not asking louisville in our place or in additon.
        Like i said, when judgement day came, we had no choice but the big 12

    • mad hatter

      you don't know that,,, the acc made it as plain as they could, they do not want us,,, they still would have taken louisville over us,,, the big `10 and the sec don't want any part of us...
      we had two choices,, stay put, or go to the big 12,,, in other words, we had no choice,,, i don't like the big 12 either ,but the aac would have been the downfall of wvu sports.

      • The bookman


      • Harold

        It sure is nice seeing TX,,OK,,,and OK State,,etc,,,than Temple Loserville Butgers
        and all the other ...