Former Sherando QB Metheny lands assistant coaching job at VMI

Ross Metheny

Ross Metheny’s first interaction with Scott Wachenheim came nearly a decade ago, when the latter recruited the former Sherando High School quarterback while Wachenheim was an assistant coach at Liberty University.

Their paths crossed again a couple years later while Metheny was playing at the University of Virginia, when Wachenheim was brought in as part of Mike London’s staff in 2010, before Metheny moved on to the University of South Alabama to finish his playing career following the 2011 season.

The pair will share the same sideline once again, this time as head coach and assistant coach. Metheny announced via social media on Saturday that he has joined the football coaching staff at Virginia Military Institute, where Wachenheim took over as the head coach last season.

“The culmination of three and a half years of (serving as a graduate assistant) finally comes to fruition,” Metheny, a 2009 Sherando graduate, said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “Just very blessed and thankful for the opportunity to join Coach Wach’s staff down here at VMI. It’s a special place. It’s a phenomenal place to have my first coaching job and a great place to learn and grow and become a better coach. Coach Wach is just the perfect guy to start under because he allows all that to happen.”

Metheny’s latest coaching gig comes on the heels of a three-year run as a graduate assistant, which included two separate stints at South Alabama and two years at Kansas State. Metheny will coach safeties at VMI, he said.

Metheny said Wachenheim offered him a spot on VMI’s staff last month, and Metheny called his new boss to accept the job offer on July 2 – the day after he married his wife, Lauren. Metheny started his new job – his first full-time coaching position – on Monday.

“I knew (Wachenheim) was one of the good guys in this business, so we just stayed in touch and when the opportunity arose here a couple weeks ago he offered me a job. I jumped right on it, knew he was a great guy to work for and to get started with,” Metheny said.

“He just gets it. He’s a family man. He lets his assistants coach and just has positive energy all the time. You wanna work hard and be successful for him and then collectively as a unit together with him. He’s just one of those infectious guys that you wanna be around, so that’s why I’m excited.”

After graduating from Sherando in 2009 as the school’s all-time leader in passing yards (7,237) and touchdown passes (69), Metheny went on to play two seasons at quarterback for South Alabama after transferring from Virginia in 2012. He led the Sun Belt Conference in total offense by passing for 2,622 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushing for 604 yards and 10 TDs during his senior season in 2013, South Alabama’s first as a member of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.

Metheny failed to garner significant interest in the professional ranks as a player and shifted his sights to coaching, beginning as a graduate assistant at South Alabama before landing that same role at Kansas State in 2015.

He assisted with defensive backs at Kansas State for two seasons before rejoining South Alabama as a grad assistant in February, a move he said was made in order to “gain some more responsibility, and run a meeting room, run practice drills on my own” while serving as the Jaguars’ tight ends coach.

Metheny’s new job at VMI moves him back to the defensive side of the football.

“You know, I enjoy it more than I originally thought I would,” Metheny said of coaching defense. “Obviously my passion is quarterback play but I also just have a lot of passion for the game of football and influencing young men. Coaching football is coaching football, man, whether it’s offense or defense.

“If I’m coaching defense I’m certainly most comfortable in the secondary,” he added. “It’s a great fit. Me being an offensive mind allows me to kind of see the game a different way for the safeties that I’m gonna be coaching. I might see something offensively that they might not see, like the quarterback’s looking at this or that. That kind of thing, just a different twist that they might not pick up right away.”

As a bonus with the new job, Metheny gets to spend more time closer to home.

“I’ve been away from home for about five and a half years now, so it’s awesome to be back in the Commonwealth, close to home,” he said. “Excited to get started back here. Yeah, it feels right.”