HARRISONBURG — It’s official. James Madison has its new football coach.
JMU announced, minutes before 6 p.m. Friday, what had been expected all day: That Ohio State assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers would take over for the fired Mickey Matthews.
The 50-year-old Withers, however, will not start at JMU until after Ohio State plays Clemson in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3.
Withers was not immediately made available to the media Friday evening. JMU said in a release that he had to fly back to Columbus, Ohio to resume his duties with OSU, where he also coaches safeties.
Withers — a 1985 Appalachian State graduate who was the interim head coach at North Carolina in 2011 — did not immediately respond to a text message.
Withers first emerged as candidate early Thursday, and Footballscoop.com — which is run by an ex-college football coach and reports almost exclusively on coaching news — reported later that day that Withers would be hired by JMU.
A JMU source said there was no reason to deny the report, but that “we do not have a signed agreement with anyone.” It is unclear when Withers signed his contract. Terms of the contract also were not immediately available.Matthews was fired Nov. 25 after 15 seasons.