Introducing Jeff Brohm: Your next Virginia football coach

brohmVirginia athletics director Craig Littlepage, according to Daily Progress sports editor Jerry Ratcliffe, is looking for football’s Tony Bennett.

Introducing to you: Jeff Brohm. More on that in a moment.

Ratcliffe knows which end is up when it comes to how Littlepage is thinking, usually, almost always, so guess what?

When Jerry writes a long column reminding us that the UVA fan base desperately wanted Tubby Smith to replace the fired Dave Leitao in 2009, and instead got stuck with this guy named Tony Bennett that nobody had ever heard of, except for those who had heard of the singer, well, he’s getting us ready for something, and what he’s getting us ready for, we’re not going to like.

According to Ratcliffe, Virginia missed out on former Georgia coach Mark Richt, who will be announced as the new coach at Miami tomorrow, because Littlepage balked at paying Richt $4 million a year, and Miami, which doesn’t have the donor base and barely has the fan support that UVA does, didn’t blink on that bottom line point.

Which means you can obviously count out Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, the other big name linked to the job. Mullen already makes $4 million a year, and he isn’t leaving the SEC West for the ACC Coastal for less money.

If you didn’t know that already, that is. Because if Virginia really wanted Mullen, what would the holdup be at this point?

So, no, it’s not Richt, it’s not going to be Mullen. Think small school, and remember what Littlepage said in the press release announcing the resignation of Mike London about wanting to interview coaches still in the postseason.

That list includes Temple’s Matt Rhule and Western Kentucky’s Jeff Brohm. Several reports have Brohm set to interview at Virginia early next week following the Hilltoppers’ game with Southern Miss in the Conference USA title game this weekend.

Brohm, 44, is a former Louisville and NFL quarterback who has coached under Bobby Petrino and Howard Schnellenberger before taking over at Western Kentucky in 2014.

In two seasons at WKU, Brohm is 18-7.

With Rhule insisting that he plans to stay at Temple, it would appear that Brohm is your guy, and he’s definitely in the price range. Brohm is making $613,000 this year at Western Kentucky, so if you’re Littlepage, you’re simply a terrible negotiator if you pay him a dime more than $2.5 million a year, and even that is deliriously generous.

Because while it’s not his fault, Jeff Brohm coming in as the new head coach doesn’t sell a single season ticket for 2016, and with a home schedule that doesn’t have a marquee non-conference game or Virginia Tech, those half-empty stadiums that made Saturdays so much more uninteresting this past fall will reappear in 2016, and likely beyond.

Best case, Brohm ends up being football’s Tony Bennett, meaning by around 2019, maybe 2020, Virginia is back to being relevant in the ACC.

Most likely, Brohm puts up the admirable fight for five to seven years and hands it off to the next guy to try to right the ship.

How’s that for a welcome mat?

– Column by Chris Graham

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