Coaching Vacancy

Just 24 hours after the optimism of Signing Day, West Virginia's football program took a hit when Keith Patterson departed, ostensibly to accept a job offer with Arizona State.

In a terse three-sentence statement, West Virginia University confirmed his departure from the Mountaineer program:

"West Virginia University defensive coordinator Keith Patterson has voluntarily left the football program and is no longer a member of the coaching staff," the prepared statement said.

"I want to thank Keith for his two years that he spent coaching in our program," head coach Dana Holgorsen said. "He was a valuable member of our staff, and we wish him nothing but the best."

If Patterson is bound for Arizona State, where one opening as a cornerbacks and special teams coach exists, it raises questions as to the positioning involved. If that is the spot Patterson accepts, it would be a downward move, suggesting that other factors were in play in his departure. One of those would be the fact of his long-term relationship with ASU head coach Todd Graham, but would those be enough to accept what amounts to a demotion?

The second scenario would be one that has been raised from sources in Arizona, which suggest that some creative methods might be used to bring Patterson in with coordinator duties without upsetting current staff members.

Of course, those issues are Arizona State's and Patterson's, not West Virginia's. The next question for WVU is filling Patterson's spot on the staff and making new assignments. WVU recently hired Damon Cogdell as a defensive assistant, but did not officially announce his coaching position. That may have been partially sparked by the knowledge that Patterson was entertaining thoughts of leaving at the time.

One candidate for the defensive coordinator job could be Tony Gibson, who returned to the Mountaineer staff a year ago.

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