Withers leaves JMU for Texas State

James Madison University is looking for a new head football coach again.

James Madison University Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne announced on Wednesday night that a national search for a new football head coach has begun with the departure of Everett Withers, who accepted the head coach position at Texas State.

“While we are disappointed to see Coach Withers depart, we are grateful for what he accomplished in his two years at James Madison and excited for the future of our program,” Bourne said in a press release. “We are confident that there are candidates available who will fit the characteristics of this institution, provide a comprehensive college experience to our student-athletes and continue the history of success for this program.”

According to the press release the university will continue its relationship with CarrSports during the hiring process to appoint a new head coach. CarrSports assisted with the hiring of Withers in 2013 and also worked with the university on its FBS Feasibility Study.

The remaining JMU assistant coaches and other support staff will continue to work with current and prospective student-athletes during the coaching search until a new staff is in place the press release said.

“I would like to thank President Alger, Vice President Charlie King and Athletic Director Jeff Bourne for the opportunity to lead JMU Football for the last two seasons,” Withers said in the press release. “It has always been a mission in every opportunity that I have been associated with to leave it in a better place than when we started. Enhance and make better. I would also like to thank the players of both the 2014 and 2015 football teams for allowing me to be a part of their lives. I believe we earned each other’s trust and, as we’ve discussed many times as a team, you must have TRUST before you can expect LOVE. I truly hope that both have been earned, between myself and every member of our two teams. I would also like to thank the Harrisonburg community for being so welcoming. My family has met so many wonderful people we will always call friends. Good luck to JMU Athletics and especially JMU Football. Remember; Energy+Creativity=Production.”

Withers went 18-7 in his two seasons as head coach, taking JMU to the playoffs both seasons. JMU lost both playoff games at home. This past season the Dukes started off 7-0, before losing two games in a row. They also lost quarterback Vad Lee to a season-ending injury.

The Dukes were Co-CAA champions, and had only 11 seniors on this year’s squad.

This is the second time JMU has been through this in the last three years. Withers was hired in late 2013 to replace long-time head coach Mickey Matthews. JMU will be looking to move fast with college football signing day just a month away.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com