West Virginia announces Jeff Koonz as special teams coordinator

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The trickle-down from college football’s most notorious celebration penalty in 2019 is carrying all the way to West Virginia.

The Mountaineers announced the hire of former Rebels linebackers coach Jeff Koonz for their vacant inside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator position on Friday evening, as was originally reported by MetroNews Friday afternoon.

Both spots were previously filled by Blake Seiler, who was hired as Old Dominion’s defensive coordinator.

Koonz was not retained at Ole Miss by new head coach Lane Kiffin.

Former Rebels coach Matt Luke was fired in the wake of Mississippi’s 21-20 loss to rival Mississippi State to end the season.

Ole Miss was in position to tie the game when wide receiver Elijah Moore was penalized for pantomiming the action of a dog urinating when he scored with 4 seconds remaining. Ole Miss missed the ensuing extra point, which was moved back 15 yards. Luke was expected to be retained had the Rebels won the game.

Koonz spent one season with the Rebels after serving as North Texas’ linebackers coach the previous two years. Prior to that stint, Koonz worse at Cincinnati for three years and Louisiana Tech for four years.

Koonz also has Big 12 experience, albeit dated. He was a defensive quality control coach at Texas in 2009, and also served as a graduate assistant with the Longhorns from 2005-06. He was an assistant coach under Gene Chizik at Iowa State from 2007-08.

“Jeff is an outstanding addition to our coaching staff,” WVU head coach Neal Brown said in a school release. “He brings a vast amount of experience coaching linebackers to our defensive staff and a familiarity with the Big 12 Conference having coached at Texas and Iowa State.

“His recruiting experience in different regions of the country also will help bolster our overall efforts. We are looking forward to having Jeff, his wife, Maura, and their family join the Mountaineer Football program.”

Koonz got his start as a GA at Auburn under Tommy Tuberville in 2004, which is where the connection to West Virginia coach Neal Brown comes into play. Brown served as Tuberville’s offensive coordinator at Texas Tech from 2010-12.

“Growing up in the game of football, I watched West Virginia and admired what it was about and how much success the Mountaineers had,” Koonz said. “I have coached against Neal’s teams and also have watched him from afar and have always respected what he has done. My family and I look forward to becoming a part of Mountaineer Football.”

As reported by The Athletic earlier in the week, former WVU defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel was also interviewed for the position.

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