CONFIRMED: Everett Withers Next JMU Football Coach

By: Daren Stoltzfus Email
By: Daren Stoltzfus Email
James Madison University has announced Everett Withers will be the next head football coach of the Dukes.

Credit: Ohio State Athletics

Credit: Kirk Irwin, Ohio State Athletics



Credit: Kirk Irwin, Ohio State Athletics

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- James Madison University has announced Everett Withers will be the next head football coach of the Dukes. first reported the move Thursday afternoon, WHSV Sports first confirmed the news with JMU Friday.

Withers will be the first new head football coach at JMU since 1999 and the sixth coach in program history.

According to a press release from the school, Withers immediately assumes the status of JMU's head football coach, but he will coach Ohio State in the Orange Bowl and will continue his role with the Buckeyes through January 3, 2014.

Withers will not meet with Harrisonburg media until that point. The current co-defensive coordinator was rushed out of town on a private plane Friday night after signing his contract, in order to return to Columbus for practice Saturday.

WHSV Sports Director Daren Stoltzfus spoke with Withers Friday night. Withers said one of the biggest reasons he took the job at James Madison is the potential he sees in the athletics program, and the university.

"I just think there's a lot of upside to a great university, and a great football program I think," Withers said.

"I talk with my wife and we say a lot of things, and you know we've been a good soldier for a long, long time in this profession, 25 years," said Withers. "This time of year, we looked for jobs, because we wanted the opportunity."

JMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne said the following in a press release:

“We are so thrilled to welcome Coach Withers and his family to James Madison,” Bourne said. “Everett is a proven winner and has shown his ability to lead, having spent time as a head coach. The entire committee was incredibly impressed when we met with him, and I have no doubt that he will be a great leader for our football program and mentor to our student-athletes for many years to come.”

Withers is a 26 year coaching veteran and most recently worked as the Co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State. The Buckeyes compiled a 24-1 record in Withers' tenure over the past two seasons.

Because of his work with the current senior class at Ohio State, and their string of success, including 24 straight wins, Withers said he felt indebted to finish his tenure with the Buckeyes by coaching in the Orange Bowl.

"That was a big part of this negotiation (with JMU) was that I had the opportunity to go back and finish coaching those guys," said Withers.

In 2011, Withers worked as the interim head football coach at the University of North Carolina after Butch Davis was fired just before the season started. The Tar Heels went 7-6 in his tenure that ended with a loss in the Independence Bowl. After Larry Fedora was hired as head coach at UNC, Withers took the job at Ohio State.

Withers' first win as a head coach came against James Madison, a 42-10 bout at Chapel Hill to start the 2011 season. He still remembers that game, but says the talent JMU had, stood out from the other sideline.

"In 2011, the team they brought to Chapel Hill was one that I thought was very good," said Withers.

Withers also worked in the National Football League for seven seasons, primarily with the Tennessee Titans.

A 1985 graduate of Appalachian State, Withers starred as a defensive back for the Mountaineers. Primarily as a coach after his playing days, he continued his focus on the defensive side of the ball. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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