Smith Staying With Jets

Dana Holgorsen has another vacancy to fill on his coaching staff, as Mike Smith -- hired at West Virginia on Jan. 20 -- has decided to return to the New York Jets as outside linebackers coach instead.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News first reported via Twitter on Thursday morning that Smith's job responsibilities at West Virginia were not going to be what he originally thought.

Thus, Mehta reported, Smith decided to return to New York to work under Rex Ryan. He had previously declined an offer from his former college head coach, Mike Leach, to work as linebackers coach at Washington State.

WVU confirmed the news in a two-sentence statement issued Thursday afternoon.

When Smith's hire at West Virginia first was reported on Jan. 17, the coach would not confirm to that he would serve as co-defensive coordinator at WVU. He did, however, acknowledge that he and Holgorsen had discussed the possibility.

"Dana told me some things, but that's something I want to get clear," Smith said then. "We still have to know who's coaching what positions with some guys that are coming, some guys we're going to bring in and interview. That's something we've still got to work on, but I just know that I'm going to be at West Virginia."

But only two weeks later, things apparently changed. Smith was the lone assistant coach not present at WVU's signing day news conference on Wednesday afternoon in Morgantown.

His contract, signed on Jan. 20 and obtained by through a Freedom of Information request, only described his position as "Assistant Football Coach." That differed from Joe DeForest, hired days before, who was repeatedly called "Associate Head Coach/co-Defensive Coordinator" in his employment agreement.

On Jan. 18, Smith called the chance to work with Holgorsen -- an assistant at Texas Tech under Leach when Smith played there -- "a great fit."

"I was really excited, because he's such a good friend," Smith said then. "The thing with Dana was, ‘Don't hire me because I'm your friend. Hire me because I'm a good coach.' We made that clear."

Smith did not initially reply to a text message seeking comment Thursday afternoon.

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