James Madison head coach Everett Withers could be in the mix to be the head coach at Maryland, according to Dan Wolken of USA TODAY.
Withers has spent the last two seasons at JMU, amassing an overall record of 16-6. He came to Harrisonburg after two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State. As Wolken points out, those connections to the Big Ten could be a benefit.
Prior to that, he spent 2008-11 at North Carolina. He was the program's defensive coordinator until he was promoted to replace fired head coach Butch Davis, who was relieved of his duties amidst allegations of academic improprietes and agent-involved violations at the school.
Withers went 7-6 as the program's head coach, but his contract was not extended after the season. Would that familiarity with ACC country also help?
There are some questions about his candidacy though, based on some things that athletic director Kevin Anderson and school president Wallace Loh have said about the position.
- OFFENSE THEY WANT?
Anderson has said he wants a coach who runs an exciting brand of new-age college offense. James Madison currently ranks fourth in the FCS in rushing with 309 yards per game on the ground. By contrast, they rank near the middle of the pack -- 19th of 50 FCS schools -- in passing yards per game.
- OFFENSIVE VS. DEFENSIVE GUY?
At Withers' other stops, he has been a defensive coordinator. Former head coach Randy Edsall was a defensive-minded coach, coming from a defensive lineage prior to being a head coach at Connecticut. Would Maryland go that route again?
- BIG NAME?
Put to the side a nuts and bolts evaluation of whether or not Withers would be the right hire or a good hire.
There is no denying that Anderson also has to worry about optics of the hire. After having the first football coach he hired end up being unable to take the program to the next level he desired, Maryland may need to make a splash.
Do they need a rejuvenation and a shot in the arm? Up against a brutal Big Ten East that includes Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Penn State, would hiring a CAA coach inspire the type of confidence on the outside that the program needs in terms of financial support and donations? That would be a major question.