MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Multiple national reports are linking West Virginia offensive coordinator Jake Spavital with the head coaching vacancy at Texas State, a Sun Belt Conference program that has failed to find its footing since moving up from the FCS in 2011.
Texas State originally honed in on Houston offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, but the former Baylor assistant confirmed to a Houston TV station that he will be staying with the Cougars, presumably with a beefed-up contract extension. According to several outlets, including Football Scoop and the Austin American-Statesman, that decision led Texas State to focus on Spavital.
The American-Statesman reported that a deal has been reached between Spavital and the school.
Spavital declined comment to MetroNews this week.
West Virginia athletics director Shane Lyons addressed the possibility of Spavital departing for a head coaching job earlier in the week.
“If he has the opportunity, and wants to be a head coach, then that’s understandable. … Jake’s done a great job for us, and if the right job comes along, then I wish him the best,” Lyons told MetroNews. “If not, that’s ultimately between him and Dana, and we’ll look at the assistants’ and coordinators’ agreements come January.”
Spavital made $500,000 this season and was in line to make $550,000 in 2019. Recently fired Texas State head coach Everett Withers made $700,000 this season.
Spavital has strong Texas connections, having served as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Texas A&M from 2013-15. He has been West Virginia’s offensive coordinator the past two years, and the Mountaineers have had one of the nation’s most productive offenses with quarterback Will Grier this season.
West Virginia is ninth in scoring offense (42.3 points per game), sixth in yards per play (7.19), third in passing offense (358.1 ypg) and 27th in red zone touchdown percentage (69.4 percent). It is on pace to be the highest-scoring offense in Mountaineers history based on points per game.
Hiring an offensive mind would seem to be the highest priority for the punchless Bobcats, who ranked 123rd nationally with 19.8 points per game. Texas State has also spoken to South Florida offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert and Ole Miss offensive coordinator Phil Longo.
Texas State has yet to reach a bowl game in eight seasons since moving up from the FCS, but possesses the second-highest athletic budget in the Sun Belt.