West Virginia football coach Neal Brown announced major shakeups to his offensive staff on Monday.
Graham Harrell, 36, a former Texas Tech and Green Bay Packers quarterback, has been hired and will serve as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator under Brown, the same roles in which he served at USC over the last three seasons.
The hiring moves wide receivers coach Gerad Parker, who has also served as the offensive coordinator at WVU since his hire two seasons ago, to co-offensive coordinator while Chad Scott, the Mountaineers’ running back coach, will take over as the program’s run game coordinator.
“I have followed Graham’s playing and coaching career for quite some time, and there’s no question he is a talented coach with a bright future,” Brown said via a press release.
“He has a successful track record as a play caller, has done an outstanding job of developing quarterbacks and is a proven winner. His character, competitiveness and positive energy is a great fit for our program. He brings Power Five coaching experience and an extensive knowledge of the Big 12. I know he is looking forward to getting started, meeting our staff and players.”
Harrell’s offenses at USC have posted impressive numbers in the past three seasons. Over the past two years, the Trojans ranked 17th (298.3 yards per game) and 11th (319.3), respectively, in passing offense.
Prior to his stint with USC, Harrell churned out top-25 offenses in back-to-back seasons at North Texas.
Now Harrell finds himself back in the Big 12 Conference, a league he torched as a player, and he said that was one of the biggest selling points for him.
“I am excited to join Neal Brown’s staff at West Virginia and become a part of the Mountaineer football program,” Harrell said.
“This program has a long and successful history with a lot of tradition, and I have so much respect for the state of West Virginia, its people and their values. I believe this is a great fit for me and my family as Neal and I know or have worked with a lot of the same people. I grew up in the Big 12, played in it, and I look forward to getting back to competing in it. I can’t wait to get to know our players and help this program make its mark.”
At the end of his playing career at Texas Tech in 2008, Harrell had put together one of the best careers in NCAA history.
His 134 touchdown passes was a then-national record and his 15,793 yards ranked second. He was a first-team All-America selection in 2008 and finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting.
West Virginia’s offense has struggled in three seasons under Brown. The Mountaineers finished 86th in the nation (371.5 yards per game) in 2021 after finishing 50th (412.6) in 2020. WVU was 119th out of 130 teams in Brown’s first season, averaging just 321.9 yards per game.
In Monday’s release, Brown said the decision to make a change came from those offensive deficiencies which largely came under his direction. With Harrell’s arrival, Brown will relinquish control of the offense and added that though Parker’s title has changed, his responsibilities largely have not.
“Since the end of the season, I have spent time reflecting on the program, and take responsibility, knowing we have to be better offensively,” Brown said. “I’ve been serving in a dual role as the offensive coordinator and head coach, and we need to bring in another voice for the offense. Having Graham as the offensive coordinator and working with Gerad as the No. 2 lead in the offensive room, as he has done, will make us a better, more efficient offense and move us in the direction we need to head. In turn, that will allow me to be a more effective CEO of the Mountaineer football program.”
Harrell began his coaching career as an assistant at Oklahoma State in 2010 before returning to play for the Packers. He was part of Green Bay’s Super Bowl champion team in 2010 and ended his playing career with a brief stint with the New York Jets in 2013.
Harrell was an assistant under his former college coach Mike Leach at Washington State, serving as an offensive analyst in 2014 and as the outside receivers coach in 2015.