MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Even after South Florida coach Charlie Strong made his pitch, West Virginia thought it could retain cornerbacks coach Blue Adams on staff for a second year.
But Adams, 37, who grew up in Florida and spent five seasons as a Miami Dolphins assistant, confirmed Sunday he was taking the USF position.
“Blue is gone,” a West Virginia team source told MetroNews on Sunday morning. That came from the same source who late Saturday night was adamant the Mountaineers could keep Adams.
Scout.com regional recruiting analyst Jason Higdon first tweeted Saturday that Adams had accepted Strong’s offer, despite the perceived step-down from a Power Five program to an AAC school.
But last season’s cornerbacks coach at USF, Alonzo Hampton, earned $200,000 — the same salary WVU paid Adams as a largely unproven assistant. Adams was offered a raise after the Mountaineers ranked second in the Big 12 pass-efficiency defense, led by second-team All-American Rasul Douglas with his FBS-leading eight interceptions.
USF has yet to release the fresh contract figures for Adams, but if you’re into the money minutiae, remember Florida doesn’t have a state income tax and some surveys show Tampa with a lower cost of living than Morgantown.
More than straight-up dollars, however, this rings like an opportunity for Adams to coach in his talent-rich home state, and to do so under a head coach who remains respected despite a failed three years at Texas.
West Virginia hired Adams last March, a search that stretched into spring practice after a fruitless first round of interviews with former Tampa Bay Bucs assistant Mikal Smith and two other candidates.
Adams subsequently lost his 15-year-old son Sire to brain cancer in July.
He becomes the third assistant to leave West Virginia after a 10-3 season. Running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider took the same position at Florida this week — also returning to his home state — and offensive line coach Ron Crook accepted a job at Cincinnati in January once it appeared his contract wouldn’t be renewed.