HARRISONBURG, Va (WHSV) -- 18 days after signing his deal with James Madison University, the Dukes officially introduced Everett Withers as their next head football coach Tuesday afternoon.
Withers, a 26-year veteran of coaching, is taking over his first job as a head coach without the interim tag attached.
"This is not a dormant football program," said Withers. "This is a football program that's really just asleep a little bit right now."
JMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne said today, not only is Withers a great coach, he's a great institutional fit for JMU.
"I'm convinced he's the man for this job, and he's gonna do a great job here at JMU," said Bourne. "A lot of it is cultural fit. An individual that I felt like at the end of the day really represented our university and our athletic program."
Priority number one for the new Dukes' head coach: recruiting. With national signing day looming less than a month away, Withers and his still-growing staff are hard at work trying to sign recruits to a school they themselves just joined.
Withers, a high energy man regarded as a players' coach, oozed excitement, a bit of healthy nerves and anticipation. The new head coach called the program he inherits "a gold mine" and a spot where "the sky is the limit."
"Not only am I about winning football games, but about growing kids and young men," said Withers. "I think that's important as a football program."
Withers continued, "I want to see young men graduate from college and come back to universities, and people recognize them. And they come back with degrees. I want guys to have the chance if they want to go to the NFL, they go to the NFL to play, but when they're done, they'll have successful careers after they finish the NFL. That's what I'm about."
Withers says he hopes to instill a championship culture at Madison and take the Dukes back to their title winning ways.