As the Virginia Tech head coach search continues to take many twists and turns, here are some of the latest updates.
Dave Clawson Agrees to An Extension at Wake Forest
One of Virginia Tech’s top targets is off the board as Dave Clawson has agreed to an extension to stay at Wake Forest.
Clawson was one of the top potential candidates on my board with there appearing to be at least some sort of interest between the two parties. How much there was and whether Clawson truly was a top candidate is unknown.
Clawson was one of the top names on my board and would have been a very good hire in my view given the job he’s done building 4 different programs up from Fordham to Richmond to Bowling Green to Wake Forest. While at Wake, he’s been arguably their best modern era coach with 5 winning seasons in the past 6 years, something that hadn’t been done since Wake had 8 in 9 from 1944 to 1952. Additionally, while Clawson isn’t known as a great recruiter, he has the type of regional ties that would definitely have been beneficial for him at Tech.
With Clawson off the board, Tech’s next coach seems less likely to be a sitting Power 5 head coach though there is one Power 5 guy who we’re hearing is a name to watch (more on him shortly).
Billy Napier to Florida Rumors Increase
Another one of Virginia Tech’s top targets, Louisiana head coach Billy Napier, may be closing in on a decision as though Virginia Tech has been heavily involved in the battle for him, signs are growing towards him landing at Florida.
Napier is definitely a top target for Virginia Tech with Napier being the type of guy who fits a lot of boxes from someone who can be a CEO-type head coach to being a high level recruiter and someone who seems to connect well with fans. He also has built out the Louisiana program structure in some similar ways to how Nick Saban has built out Alabama which is something that Tech definitely needs structurally compared to some of the “less is more” approach of the past.
There’s no doubt that Tech is increasing their financial push on the football side in a significant while the facilities have taken a big step forward in recent years as well. That could be valuable along with the fact that Tech has some advantages compared to Florida from a wide open ACC Coastal compared to a Georgia-dominated SEC East plus a more patient fanbase compared to a Florida donors and leadership that has a quick trigger finger when things aren’t perfect.
Tech’s odds of landing Napier at this point seem to be shrinking as Florida seems to be closing in on one of their top targets. However, never say never until the ink on the contract is dry and the public announcement is made for either program.
Matt Campbell Emerges as a Name to Watch
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell wasn’t a name that I thought might be in play for the Virginia Tech job given the rumors that he could be a major candidate at places like USC and LSU. However, I’ve heard from a source that Campbell is absolutely a name to watch in the Virginia Tech coaching search at this point.
Now there’s no doubt that landing Campbell would be a home run hire as his tenure has been one of the best in school history with Iowa State set for their fifth-straight winning season during his six year tenure. During that time, Campbell has led Iowa State to a Big 12 Championship game during the 2020 season while also winning 3 Big 12 Coach of the Year awards and elevating Iowa State’s recruiting. This came after a strong tenure at Toledo where he won 9 games three out of 4 seasons with 2 division titles.
There are some major challenges though as USC seems to consider Campbell a top target and beating out the Trojans for a head coach target may be tougher than trying to do so for Florida in regards to Billy Napier.
Of course, Whit Babcock has shown an ability to make some major splash hires before from landing Buzz Williams from Marquette on the men’s basketball side to getting John Szefc from Maryland on the baseball side of things. Yes, football is another animal but Babcock has shown that he can land some big coaching fish that wouldn’t have seemed imaginable.
Keep an eye on Matt Campbell as Whit Babcock looks to make a big hire though Tech may have to deal with some major competition from USC and potentially LSU.