The biggest Virginia Tech football staff upheaval since 2006 is complete.
The Hokies announced Friday the additions of offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes and wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead. All three officially begin Jan. 25, when they’ll be formally introduced at a press conference.
Bryan Stinespring, Virginia Tech’s offensive coordinator since 2002, will no longer have that role. He’ll coach tight ends in the new setup and takes on the title of recruiting coordinator.
The new hires replace three coaches who were brought on during Frank Beamer’s last staff major overhaul seven years ago — quarterbacks coach/play-caller Mike O’Cain, offensive line coach Curt Newsome and wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman.
The moves come 21 days after Virginia Tech’s 13-10 Russell Athletic Bowl win against Rutgers, an offensively inept showing that crystallized a need for changes after the Hokies’ worst season in 20 years.
Virginia Tech’s offense, which set records in 2011, producing the school’s single-season leader in rushing (David Wilson) and total offense (Logan Thomas), took enormous steps back in 2012. The Hokies finished 81st nationally in both total offense (376.7 ypg) and scoring (25.08 ppg), barely qualifying for a bowl game after finishing the regular season with a 6-6 record.
Beamer, who initially targeted Stanford’s Pep Hamilton, a hot commodity who reportedly accepted the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive coordinator job Friday, hopes the new hires can set a different course.
Loeffler, 38, is a former Auburn and Temple offensive coordinator who previously worked as a quarterbacks coach at Michigan, Florida and with the Detroit Lions. He’s tutored future NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady, Chad Henne and Tim Tebow in his career and should employ a pro-style scheme.
He interviewed in Blacksburg for a second time Monday, one day before Thomas announced that he would return for his senior season at Virginia Tech.
Grimes, who worked with Loeffler at Auburn last year, interviewed Monday as well. The 44-year-old UTEP grad spent the previous four years with Auburn, including the national championship season in 2010. He previously worked at Colorado, BYU, Arizona State and Boise State.
Moorehead is the final piece of the puzzle. The 32-year-old, who has been an offensive assistant at Stanford the last three years, becomes the youngest member of the coaching staff.
The Colorado native played collegiately at Illinois and professionally for the Indianapolis Colts from 2003-07, winning a Super Bowl in 2006. He spent 2009 as a graduate assistant at New Mexico before joining Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Stanford.
The staff shakeup is the first since February of 2011, when Beamer brought his son, Shane, on as a running backs coach and former Hokies’ star defensive end Cornell Brown as a whip linebackers coach.
The change included moving long-time Beamer assistants Billy Hite and Jim Cavanaugh into administrative roles. O’Cain also took over play-calling duties, although Stinespring retained his offensive coordinator role.
Before that, the biggest shakeup was in 2006, when quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers (Minnesota Vikings), receivers coach Tony Ball (Georgia), defensive backs coach Lorenzo Ward (Oakland Raiders) and offensive line coach Danny Pearman (North Carolina) left for different jobs.
Virginia Tech replaced them with O’Cain (from broadcasting), Sherman (Wake Forest), Newsome (JMU) and Torrian Gray (Chicago Bears).
Three of those coaches were part of Friday’s changes. Sherman was officially announced as a member of Purdue’s coaching staff earlier in the day.
Newsome, according to multiple reports, is in line for a job at James Madison. O’Cain, meanwhile, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch late Thursday night that he was fired on Tuesday.
Virginia Tech didn’t specify in its release whether the coaches were fired, although the events of the last month suggest they were forced out.
Sherman, Newsome, O’Cain were working under letters of appointment at Virginia Tech through June 20, 2013. They would simply be paid through the end of the appointment if terminated without cause.
If a fired coach accepts a position at another school, Virginia Tech’s payments would be offset by those earned at the other university.
Loeffler, Grimes and Moorehead’s salaries at Virginia Tech were not finalized as of Friday.
– Age: 38
– Hometown: Barberton, Ohio
– Alma mater: Michigan
– Experience: Auburn OC (2012), Temple OC (2011), Florida QB (2009-10), Detroit Lions QB (2008), Michigan QB (2002-07), Central Michigan QB (2000-01), Michigan GA (1998-99), Michigan SA (1996-97)
– The skinny: The former Michigan quarterback has helped tutor six eventual NFL quarterbacks, including Tom Brady, Chad Henne and Tim Tebow. He ran a run-oriented offense successfully at Temple but struggled to transition Auburn from a spread to a pro-style last season.
– Fun fact: Remains close friends with Brady, who is only three years his junior.
– Age: 44
– Hometown: Garland, Texas
– Alma mater: UTEP
– Experience: Auburn OL (2009-12), Colorado OL/Asst HC (2007-08), BYU OL (2004-06), Arizona State OL (2001-03), Boise State OL (2000), Hardin-Simmons OL (1998-99), Texas A&M GA (1996-97), Rice GA (1995)
– The skinny: His veteran group was an integral part of Auburn’s national championship season in 2010, although his lines the last two years were hamstrung by youth and injuries. He was a running game coordinator at both Colorado and Arizona State.
– Fun fact: He was replaced at Auburn by J.B. Grimes, a former coach for Beamer at Virginia Tech from 1993-97. The two are not related.
– Age: 32
– Hometown: Deerfield, Ill.
– Alma mater: Illinois
– Experience: Stanford Off. assistant (2010-12), New Mexico GA (2009)
– The skinny: After his college career with the Illini, Moorehead spent five years (2003-07) with the Indianapolis Colts, winning a Super Bowl in the 2006-07 season. He spent the last three years working with wide receivers on Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Stanford.
– Fun fact: His father, Emery, played in the NFL for 12 seasons, winning a Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears in the 1985 season. The Mooreheads are the only father-son combination to play in and win a Super Bowl.