Cincinnati coaches enjoy WVU homecoming
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Saturday's game against West Virginia will be a homecoming for many coaches on Cincinnati's football team.
Six members of the Bearcats' coaching staff, including first-year head coach Butch Jones, had a role in West Virginia's football program.
Jones spent two seasons in Morgantown as an assistant under former West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez.
Jones was wide receivers coach in 2005-06. In those years, WVU racked up a 22-3 record.
"It will be a little bit different with the bus ride in and being on the opposite side of the fans pulling up to the stadium," Jones said, who took the head coaching job at Central Michigan in 2007 before starting at Cincinnati this season. "And then it will be a little different on the opposite sideline."
Cincinnati's assistant director of football strength and conditioning, Mike Szerszen; offensive assistant Brandon Myles; director of player development Milo Austin; director of football strength and conditioning Dave Lawson; and running backs coach Jahmile Addae have ties to WVU. Myles, Austin and Addae played for the Mountaineers.
"We have a lot of dear friends and true friends there, not only in that community, but in the administration and on the coaching staff. But once game time hits, you're competing," Jones said. "I'm looking forward to going back, but it's also going to be a great challenge."
Also on the offensive coaching staff with Jones in 2005-06 at the time was Bill Stewart, now WVU's head coach. He was the quarterbacks coach at the time.
Stewart said he became very close friends with Jones in his years in Morgantown.
"Butch is exactly what you'd want your sister to marry, you'd want him to coach your son and you'd want to have as your best friend. That's the kind of man Butch Jones is," Stewart said.
The two coaches have stayed close, despite coaching on opposite sides of the field like they will Saturday.
"I like Butch, but I don't like him when we play him," Stewart said. "He can marry my sister, but I'd take him out back and punch him in the nose."
Stewart's ties are even close with Cincinnati's staff. He personally recruited Austin and Myles to West Virginia.
"I'm proud of them," Stewart said. "But, I want to beat the pants off them."
Notes: West Virginia students may have become disinterested in this year's football team. Out of the 12,500 student seats in Milan Puskar Stadium, just 7,500 tickets were requested for Saturday's game against Cincinnati. Those 4,000 tickets are being given on a first-come, first-serve basis to students who failed to request a ticket. ... West Virginia coaches will be wearing a special hat this weekend to honor U.S. military veterans. ... The Mountaineer Athletic Club will not accept a donation from Vince Skolny, a WVU graduate and entrepreneur who is selling shirts and other items with the slogan "Fire Coach Stewart." Originally, Skolny said 25 percent of his profits would be given to the MAC.