Cal's Jake Spavital returning to West Virginia as offensive coordinator

BY Bruce Feldman • January 14, 2017

Cal’s Jake Spavital will become the new offensive coordinator at West Virginia, a source told FOX Sports. In addition, Joe Wickline will take over as WVU's offensive line coach. He, Spavital and head coach Dana Holgorsen have previously worked together at Oklahoma State.

The 31-year-old Spavital has worked with Holgorsen at previous stops at Houston, Oklahoma State and at West Virginia, where he was Geno Smith’s QB coach when the Mountaineers had a record-setting offense that scored 70 points on Clemson in an Orange Bowl victory. Spavital had a very impressive debut season with the Cal Bears, taking over an offense that had to replace Jared Goff — the first pick in the NFL Draft — and the team's top six receivers. The offensive coordinator still produced the nation's No. 10 offense, which was only down two spots from 2015. The Bears were No. 4 in the nation in passing and No. 3 in first downs.

During his time at West Virginia, Texas A&M and Cal, Spavital has proven to be an elite recruiter, landing both five-star talent (Christian Kirk, Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray) while also unearthing unheralded prospects who blossomed into stars (Kevin White, Daryl Worley and Josh Reynolds). He was also a big reason why Cal landed coveted grad transfer QB Davis Webb last year. Spavital had served as the Bears interim head coach after Cal fired Sonny Dykes last week. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, native was a finalist for the coaching vacancy, but the school has offered the job to Wisconsin’s Justin Wilcox.

A former Missouri State QB, Spavital began his coaching career at Tulsa in 2008 as an offensive quality control assistant under Gus Malzahn. The team led the nation in total offense (569.9 ypg) and ranked second in scoring offense (47.2 ppg).

At West Virginia, Spavital inherits an intriguing QB situation, as the Mountaineers have lost two-year starter Skyler Howard but has former Florida start Will Grier waiting in the wings.