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West Virginia hires Graham Harrell as offensive coordinator

USC Spring Football Practice Begins

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 05: Offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, center, works with the offense during USC’s first spring football practice on campus in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019. (Photo by Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images)

MediaNews Group via Getty Images

West Virginia has hired Graham Harrell as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach to try to bolster a unit that ranked near the bottom of the Big 12 in 2021.

The Mountaineers are hoping the addition of Harrell can give them a spark after going 17-18 in coach Neal Brown’s first three seasons.

“Since the end of the season, I have spent time reflecting on the program, and take responsibility, knowing we have to be better offensively,” Brown said in a statement.

Harrell, 36, spent the past three seasons in the same role at Southern Cal, which hired Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma as its head coach in late November. The Trojans led the Pac-12 in passing this season at 298 yards per game and were 24th nationally in total offense at 444 yards per game.

Harrell also spent three seasons as offensive coordinator at North Texas. Before that he spent two seasons as a Washington State assistant under Mike Leach, his coach while he played at Texas Tech. Harrell runs a version of Leach’s Air Raid offense.

“I have followed Graham’s playing and coaching career for quite some time, and there’s no question he is a talented coach with a bright future,” Brown said.

West Virginia could use the offensive infusion. The Mountaineers were eighth in total offense in the Big 12 with an average of 371 yards and scored the second-fewest touchdowns.

Harrell set numerous NCAA passing records at Texas Tech from 2005 to 2008, including single-season completions with 512 and surpassing 400 passing yards 11 times, both in 2007. He threw for more than 5,000 yards in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons and was a Heisman Trophy finalist and a Sammy Baugh Trophy winner. He then spent three seasons with the Green Bay Packers, winning a Super Bowl ring while throwing only four passes as Aaron Rodgers’ backup.

“I grew up in the Big 12, played in it, and I look forward to getting back to competing in it,” Harrell said. “I can’t wait to get to know our players and help this program make its mark.”

West Virginia will break in a new starting quarterback next fall after two-year starter Jarret Doege announced last month that he will transfer.

That decision left Garrett Greene as West Virginia’s most experienced quarterback. Greene threw for 147 yards and was the team’s third-leading rusher with 297 yards in 11 games this past season. The Mountaineers also will have incoming recruit Nicco Marchiol, the Arizona high school player of the year. Marchiol is enrolled at WVU this month.

Harrell will replace Gerad Parker, who will become co-offensive coordinator while retaining his position as wide receivers coach. Brown also announced that Chad Scott will remain as running backs coach and add the role of run-game coordinator. Meanwhile, tight ends and inside wide receivers coach Travis Trickett announced his departure Sunday on Twitter.

West Virginia went 6-7 in 2021, losing to Minnesota 18-6 in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.