The Case for Chadwell

Over the last few weeks, I've seen a lot of disinterest and dislike for Jamey Chadwell as a potential candidate for the next head coach for Virginia Tech. I'm not here to say he's the best option - hell, he's not even my first choice - but I'd be pretty pumped about the hire if Whit announced him on Monday. I am writing today to make a case for Jamey Chadwell to be the next head coach at Virginia Tech.

His offense is both effective and fun to watch
I'm not a scheme guy - if you want to learn about Chadwell's scheme, read this - but despite being an RPO/Spread Option/Triple Option offense (all terms I've seen attributed to this offense) it's actually quite balanced. So far in 2021, Coastal Carolina is passing for 269.6 yards per game off an average of 24.3 attempts/game. They are rushing for 222.7 yards per game from 39.5 attempts per game. Their 2020 split is similar.

Beyond being effective, this team is just plain fun to watch. Search youtube for coastal carolina chantecler football highlights. You won't be disappointed.

Chadwell has a dynamic personality
He's a players coach - I encourage you to read about his weekly trophies, touchdown celebrations, Mullet Squad, and much more:

The Coastal Carolina football team claims it has more fun than any other team in the country, and the Chanticleers keep trying to prove it.

Even his peers and coworkers speak highly of him:

Chadwell was well-liked by many in the Charleston Southern athletic community, including head men's basketball coach Barclay Radebaugh, who is going into his 16th season with the team.

"I've been in Div. I athletics for 33 years, and Jamey's one of the best coaches I've been around regardless of sport," Radebaugh said. "He has an amazing ability to bring the best out of everybody. Jamey has the 'it factor.'

"Whatever that is in coaching, Jamey has that."

I don't what more I can say? Players, other coaches, and the media all seem to love this guy. This dude isn't Fuente 2.0.

He's a culture fit.
Everyone knows by now that Chadwell is from Appalachia. He grew up bailing hay and shucking corn in Caryville, Tennessee. DOES IT GET MORE LUNCH PAIL THAN THAN?!?

He's won at every level.
I know there's a ton of you reading this saying "He's never coached in the Power 5; I don't want him." This is true - Chadwell has never coached in the P5 - but he's won at every level:

  • As a DII coach, he took over a 2 win North Greenville team, leading them to their winningest season ever after 3 seasons. He took them from 2-8 to 7-3 to 11-3. They finished as the 12th best DII team that season
  • In 2013, Chadwell took over a Charleston Southern team (FCS program) that had gone 0-11 and 5-6 in the previous 2 seasons. In year 1 of the Chadwell era, Charleston Southern won 10 games, the highest win total in program history. Chadwell would go on to lead them to 2 conference championships, 2 FCS playoff berths, a 4-0 record over their in-state rival The Citadel, and a win over then-FCS powerhouse App State.
  • Most CFB fans have seen what Chadwell has done at Coastal Carolina - In 2020, he was 3 points away from an undefeated season, beating 2 ranked teams, and 1 FBS team. This year, his team is 9-2, those 2 losses coming by 3 points and 2 points, respectively.

He's not a Fuente
Not only does Chadwell have far more head coaching experience than Fuente did in 2015 (and a better personality it seems), but by objective measures (namely, SP+), Chadwell's G5 teams have out performed Fuente's:

Coach Team Season Record Total SP+ Offensive SP+ Defensive SP+ Special Teams SP+
Fuente Memphis 2012 4-8 96 111 71 124
Fuente Memphis 2013 3-9 77 107 50 85
Fuente Memphis 2014 10-3 55 79 32 74
Fuente Memphis 2015 9-4 47 35 82 66
Chadwell Coastal Carolina 2019 5-7 113 99 108 98
Chadwell Coastal Carolina 2020 11-1 25 9 63 22
Chadwell Coastal Carolina 2021 9-2 28 9 67 68

All that said... he's not perfect
Would I have some concerns with a Chadwell hire? Yes, of course - the dude has never had to recruit at the P5 level. Can this be overcome? Yes, of course. We (the school, the fanbase, and the administration) have learned a lot since the 2015 coaching search. In 2015, we focused mostly on what Frank never had - an offense - and lost sight of all the things that made him great: His ability to innovate on the field (especially in special teams) and his ability to relate to almost anyone (administrators, donors, fans, high school coaches, recruits, parents, etc).

Now, we (1) know what we need in a coach, and can (2) find ways to address his blind spots. If we hire Chadwell, it will be essential to round out his staff with proven coaches/recruiters. But we know that now. We didn't realize that in 2015.

I don't know if Chadwell's the guy - to be honest, I think Napier is done deal, and I think he's the best option out there - but if Whit announces Chadwell as the next Virginia Tech Football Coach, I will be quite excited.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

Thanks for putting this together. I've seen the pitch for Napier and Huff, and am familiar with some of our more well known candidates, but I didn't know much about Chadwell, so I appreciate the info and links.

For sure - as someone who's been following Chadwell for a year now, I've read a lot of stuff on TKP that doesn't jive with anything I've watched/read (he's a grumpy guy, he runs the wishbone, he can't be a CEO coach, etc). Hopefully the information I've provided sets the record straight.

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I don't know x and o like others, but seems after reading that analysis it would be important for him to bring his OC and OL coaches..

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

Great post, really appreciate the time you took to throw this all together. Chadwell isn't my first choice either, but I think no matter who we get, the G5 to P5 recruiting leap is going to be a question mark.

I will offer a rebuttal to the take I've seen thrown around here about how Chadwell is just Fuente 2.0: if he turns out to be the guy Fu was sold to us as, that's actually pretty damn good

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Braxton Burmeister, Ryan Willis, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

I think no matter who we get, the G5 to P5 recruiting leap is going to be a question mark.

I don't disagree, but I think this concern is (somewhat) addressed by the fact that he jumped from DII to FCS to G5. He's been able to scale his (head) coaching strategy when he jumped to new levels before; so I feel good that he could do it again when he does jump to P5.

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It's possible. Unfortunately there are enough intangibles at play here that an outcome is hard to predict at this point.

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Braxton Burmeister, Ryan Willis, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

Brings his own guys because nobody else runs the offense. No experience recruiting. No Mid-Atlantic ties.

Explain again how this is not Fuente 2.0? Because he'll talk to the press?

  1. It's a completely different scheme
  2. Chadwell has had nearly three times as much head coaching experience as Fuente
  3. Chadwell has spent his whole career in this region of the country
  4. Chadwell has had better results than Fuente

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I just want to say, clearly and for the record:

"better than/more successful than Fuente" isn't the measuring stick want to use to pick the next head coach

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

Good coaching candidates are good coaching candidates. You don't refuse to date any blonde girl just because you once dated a crazy girl who happened to be blonde (well, maybe you do, but it's an irrational thought process).

I'm just saying that I think 2021 Chadwell is a more attractive coaching candidate than 2015 Fuente.

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Oh no, I stopped dating blondes specifically because of Heather, crazy! Never again.0

Hmm, I'd have to personally update this with:

Good coaching candidates are good coaching candidates. You don't refuse to date any blonde Chinese girl just because you once dated were engaged to a crazy girl who happened to be blonde from China (well, maybe you do, but it's an irrational thought process).

Mostly tongue-in-cheek /s.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

Yeah, I'm not gonna do that. Bar covered all the bases, and if you read my comments, I'm not a Chadwell stan. Just made an observation is all. I'd rather have Huff.

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Braxton Burmeister, Ryan Willis, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

I've said a variation of this before on another thread and I'll say it again:

Being "Fuente 2.0" isn't a bad thing. There were a lot of good reasons we were excited about Fuente initially, it just didn't work out because hiring is never a sure thing. Getting a hot coach from a lower division or league of play is a common and good realistic strategy for a school of our caliber. We're going to miss out on some great candidates just because they're "like Fuente" in that regard.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Thank you -

Chadwell would bring energy and enthusiasm to the program day 1.

People really don't understand how good his offenses have been. I've read a bunch of people say they don't want a Paul Johnson offense - which is just saying "yeah I haven't looked into them at all"

If anything Napier is the potential Fuente 2.0. Power 5 coordinator experience, an offense that's not as good as it might seem.

The biggest concern I have with either of them is if they'll really be able to energize the past players to help recruiting and what their staffs would look like.

Can we make this private? We don't want the AD at UF to see this. /s

"Vick, dashing back . . . here he comes again . . . Electrifying . . . and have you ever seen anything like this?"

- to be honest, I think Napier is done deal

Maybe I am not TKPing hard enough. Can you elaborate?

To be the man you gotta beat the man!

No sources, just a gut feel combined with unconfirmed Twitter speculation (aka fake news) and flight tracker info.

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unconfirmed Twitter speculation (aka fake news) and flight tracker info

/s
🍗

To be the man you gotta beat the man!

That you mentioned "flight tracker" seals it.

It clearly must be.

I also saw somewhere that Florida fans seem to think that Napier is a done deal as well, and that UF will announce on Sunday or Monday.

I think Chadwell would bring the most immediately exciting on-field product of any option. His questions would arise 3ish seasons in when we see what kind of work he has done to rebuild this roster to a level we expect of VT. He's my favorite option of the "high-risk" tier, which he's only in because of recruiting concerns (which is based on it simply being an unknown, he may well become an elite P5 recruiter at some point in his career).

Ultimately, I think the biggest reason he won't be the next VT coach is that Whit knows this may be his last chance to hire a major college football coach and is less willing to bet on the high-risk, high-reward option. AD's don't get infinite lives in that regard.

Whit knows this may be his last chance to hire a major college football coach and is less willing to bet on the high-risk, high-reward option. AD's don't get infinite lives in that regard.

100% agree. I'm good with any of the names but I ultimately think Chadwell has an uphill battle for that reason. I think he's got to show more in the interview of his plan and needs some vouching from whatever ADs/Coaches Whit leans on

Since Shane is off the table I hope Whit at least has a long conversation about how Shane would see these coaches fit. He's got a lot of contacts in his experience.

Won't be Whits last chance. He is a great AD

Ideally, this one will work out. For VT AND for Whit.

What's your high-risk tier?

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Any young coordinator or G5 coach that doesn't have significant P5 experience.

That doesn't mean they aren't good options but no experience as a head coach OR no significant P5 experience means more unknowns involved (higher risk).

Would Elko qualify as high-risk? He doesn't quite fit into these categories, but no HC experience.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

I don't have written out tiers or anything official, but Elko for me is less risky because he's been around longer and spent time and recruited at multiple P5 stops. He does still have the never-been-a-HC risk.

So, does he come and bring his QB with him? That could make for an intriguing year one, I think Blackshear would absolutely dominate in his offense

I wonder this too. Part of me worries that Grayson McCall is making Chadwell look better than he really is. I wonder how McCall would hold up against ACC defenses?

"These people are losing their minds!"

I'm very curious about this as well. It's clear that Chadwell's scheme is innovative, but any coach can look better with a great QB. We got tricked by the Fuente/Corn offense with this problem.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

So did they, I think.

I think Burmeister would thrive in Chadwell's offense...my issue is the same reason why this type of offense isn't really seen in the NFL - it's an easy scheme to defend against if you have speed on the second and third levels.

it's an easy scheme to defend against if you have speed on the second and third levels.

But how many teams have that type of speed/athlete at all levels? Bama, OSU, Clemson, and... ?

If you put a linebacker in a 1v1 situation against a running back, the running back will almost always win. If you bring the secondary forward to help the linebackers, then you risk giving up the deep ball.

Not a scheme guy, but philosophically, it seems to make sense to me. Not sure why people seem thing this is a one-dimensional offense that can only work at lower levels of football. Happy to be educated and have my mind changed though.

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But how many teams have that type of speed/athlete at all levels? Bama, OSU, Clemson, and... ?

I get we're the jester right now but I would rather be a king than a prince.

We never will be though, so might as well be clear about what we are and play to those strengths. Trying to be a king when you are a prince gets you Nebraska. Nobody wants to be a Nebraska.

Would you like Prys with that?

That's a better comparison for Chadwell.

Hes Scott Frost 2.0.

How Frost is doing so bad at Nebraska is absolutely beyond me. He seemed like such a nobrainer....I'd still put money on him to be a good head coach somewhere else.

Frost was a ball coach though, Chadwell is a long time head coach, he knows how to run a program. I think Frost ran out of guys to run his offensive scheme when he moved from Florida to the midwest

Frost was a ball coach though, Chadwell is a long time head coach

What does this mean?

I been here since day 0.

Read the rest of the comment. Frost knew how to win with better than average players that he got in Florida. Once he went to Nebraska he didn't have those same players and he has had no success.

Chadwell is a head coach that has built a program that is winning with not even "average" players. Or he is taking the average players and putting them in position to be better than their recruiting.

Sound familiar?

Frost was QB coach then OC for Oregon with Mariota and called plays in the 2014 playoff run. His main experience was as a coach on the field. He never built his own roster or the coaching infrastructure to develop guys from freshmen to seniors.

He took that offensive philosophy to an existing group of Florida players and won with them.

I'm not a scheme guy - if you want to learn about Chadwell's scheme, read this - but despite being an RPO/Spread Option/Triple Option offense (all terms I've seen attributed to this offense) it's actually quite balanced. So far in 2021, Coastal Carolina is passing for 269.6 yards per game off an average of 24.3 attempts/game. They are rushing for 222.7 yards per game from 39.5 attempts per game. Their 2020 split is similar.

I really value what Mike Leach said about "offensive balance"... It isn't about the ratio of run to pass, it's about how many different people you can get the ball to. Regardless of how you get them the ball the defense has to respect absolutely everyone on every single play.

Is coronavirus over yet?

If you click the sports reference link, you can see how much they spread the ball out. They have 6ish RBs and 4ish receivers who are contributors.

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I'm reserved to Chadwell as it could be to a similar situation when UNC brought in Larry Fedora. Great offensive scheme and had early success but then falling flat once teams with elite athletes started figuring him out

All good coaches tweak their scheme over time. If I were interviewing Chadwell, I'd be asking about how he's evolved his offense e over time, and he how he plans to in the future.

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One somewhat interesting thing I find about Chadwell is he was talked about as maybe a candidate for the VT job before we actually made the move. There was a post of odds (not real odds) that listed him as the favorite when we did make the move. But since then, there's been almost zero talk about him. He went from "could very well be the guy" to after thought almost immediately. A day or so ago Bruce Feldman mentioned VT having interest in Chadwell and it was the first time I've seen any serious rumor talk about him. All the "talk" since the firing has been around Napier, Huff, Clawson, and a little smoke around Bill O'Brien. I don't know what any of this means if anything as I'm just rambling as the family runs around in organized Thanksgiving chaos

In light of Whit's line about not knowing it ahead of time and to ignore any names you hear... Chadwell to VT confirmed.

I think Bill O'Brien is the most overlooked and best candidate. Recruiting, experience, team building. I like Huff and Napier too but Chadwell is not the answer.

I'd always heard that O'Brien hated recruiting.

He got a 5* QB to come to an absolutely broken program. I'd take that.

At PSU? Oddly 24/7 doesn't list any recruits to PSU. I'm assuming this list has to be wrong, I can't imagine that he didn't actually recruit anyone while he was at PSU
https://247sports.com/Coach/Bill-OBrien-1359/

EDIT: Apparently Hackenburg. Not sure why he isn't on that list.

EDIT AGAIN: Apparently Bill was not Hack's recruiter:
https://247sports.com/Player/Christian-Hackenberg-13446/high-school-4028/

Head coaches are rarely listed as primary/secondary recruiters. Check out saban's profile

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Fair. Still not convinced that O'Brien is a great recruiter. I've heard for years that he hated that aspect of the job so it surprises me that I'm now hearing that he was great at it. Back when he was at PSU the popular narrative was that he was always an NFL guy, in part because you don't have to recruit, so I'm still not convinced that he is the stud recruiter as he's now being portrayed.

Yeah, Hack is who I was referring to. And whether or not it was BoB who "actually" recruited him, you should give credit where it's due.

Just saying, I would be excited by that hire. Of course, there's always Bruce Arians.....

i like chadwell, my problem is you can't dictate his staff to him. and if he doesn't have experience in p5 how is he getting a p5 level recruiting staff in? maybe he has connections in the industry but seems dubious

You're not going to be able to dictate staff to any new HC. The Bud Foster thing was an anomaly, and any new HC in Blacksburg is going to insist on picking his own staff.

Great write-up bar, and really good sell job!

From the beginning I said I would be pleased with Chadwell, though not excited, and would give him time to show what he can do. But he's not in my top 5.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Tech is competing against other teams such a Florida. You read the UF info and everyone believes Napier is a lock there. I am skeptical Clawson will bail from Wake. Bottom line, the pickings could be slimmer than we realize and Chadwell may be the best in a limited pool.

i know it is all speculation, but florida fans are very confident that napier is locked up.

if whit didn't lock him up early on, then napier probably is going to florida. in that case, i think our candidates would be chadwell & huff (with head coaching experience) and then freeman & elko (coordinators).

if whit is gonna make a splash hire that no one is even thinking about...i would love to see that be pat fitzgerald (i know, i know...that's impossible).

My thoughts have been Napier 1 and Chadwell 2. Somedays that reverses.

Same. My top three is Napier, Huff, Chadwell, in any order.

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Huff or Chadwell for me. I have been a Chadwell guy for a while but watching a few of Huff's post game interviews have piqued my interest.

I'd be pretty pumped about the hire if Whit announced him on Monday.

Wait, is an official announcement coming Monday?

"... I think he played his nuts off. And you can quote me on that shit."

Not yet, just a theory

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This whole situation feels eerily similar to the situation we were in when Buzz left. We have some competition and Whit may have to go to option 2 or three... Fuente was the only hire he's made that turned out to be bad, so I trust he's got a number of good candidates on the list.

Is coronavirus over yet?

I really liked Chadwell until today, at halftime against South Alabama..... they are getting shutout 10-0.

Funny story...Memphis had a good season going in 2015 until they lost the three games immediately after Beamer announced his retirement.

Ha, I had the same thought.

Gotta figure Chadwell is going somewhere this offseason, even if it's not VT. It feels like there's more good jobs available than there are good candidates (and I obviously think Chadwell is a good candidate).

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You still watching? Coastal just took the lead after a nice defensive stand in the red zone and intercepting a 4th down play, then ripped off a long TD run to start the 4Q.

Up 14-10 now.

Coastal won the game in OT

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