As first reported by Scott Rousell and the team at FootballScoop.com, Ohio State co-defensive coordinator, assistant head coach, and safeties coach Everett Withers will be the next head football coach at James Madison. The university confirmed the news in an email Friday. The release also stated that Withers will stay with the Buckeyes through the Orange Bowl.
The FCS program in the Colonial Athletic Association that many believe is on the fast track to move up to FBS ball later this decade was coveted by a number of assistants and was thought to be down to Withers, VT assistant Bryan Stinespring, and Oakland Raiders QB coach John DeFilippo.
This won't be Withers' first head coaching opportunity as following the dismissal of Butch Davis, Withers served as interim head coach for North Carolina. During his one season as the head man (in circumstances not entirely dissimilar to those faced by Luke Fickell in his one-year stint as Buckeyes head coach), Withers recorded a 7-5 record earning a berth in the Independence Bowl against Missouri.
Withers had drawn the ire of some Ohio State fans for the lackluster play from the Buckeyes' safeties, particularly following the season ending injury of senior captain Christian Bryant. Backup safety Corey Brown never was able to pick up the slack to the level accustomed to by hardcore Buckeye backers, though Withers had been responsible in the last season for some of OSU's bigger recruiting gets (including the surprise pick up of 5-star safety, Vonn Bell).