The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

November 7, 2012

Cogdell leader in WVU’s Florida connection

MORGANTOWN — Damon Cogdell, of Miami, has been a huge help to West Virginia University’s football program as both a player and coach.

Cogdell was a two-year starting linebacker for the Mountaineers in 1997-98, then he developed quarterback Geno Smith and sent him on to WVU four years ago.

This will be his 11th year as the head football coach at Miramar High School. And he’s a leader in WVU’s Florida connection.

Cogdell was a schoolboy standout at Miramar High, then decided to attend Chaffey College in California.

After spending two years there, he was contacted by both the University of Miami and West Virginia.

“I heard a lot of good things about coach Don Nehlen. So I decided to go there.” He was redshirted as a transfer in 1996, then was a standout linebacker in 1997-98.

Cogdell, who was 6-foot-2 and weighed 235 pounds, played in only eight games before requiring hip surgery as a junior. But he didn’t miss a game his senior year.

For his two seasons, Cogdell recorded 107 tackles, including 76 solos, one interception, one forced fumble and one recovery, two sacks and two pass break-ups.  

His career-high for total tackles was 13 in a win against Virginia Tech.

At the time, Nehlen was quoted in the media guide that Cogdell demonstrated perhaps the most determined work ethic during rehab of any player during the head coach’s 21 years at WVU.

After spending two years in Georgia as an assistant coach, he got the head job at Miramar High. His 10-year record there is a most impressive 50-11.

Last year’s team went 14-1 and finished as Florida State Championship runners-up.

Cogdell said, “I certainly love coaching. That’s what I really enjoy doing.”

Asked why he chose WVU over Miami as a player, he replied:

“When I was going through the recruiting process, I decided that it was great playing for Don Nehlen. I thought he was a great guy and a great coach.

“He also had a great program. He had a great family, and the Mountaineer fans were wonderful. Those are great people up there.”

Nehlen had this to say about Cogdell in a recent interview:

“He wasn’t a naturally gifted football player. But he had enough that he became a pretty solid linebacker.”

Cogdell graduated from WVU with a degree in coaching and physical education.

Nehlen is not surprised that he has been so successful coaching at one of the best Class 8-A high schools in Florida.

“He is one of the most respected high school coaches in the country right now.” Nehlen believes having Cogdell at Miramar High is great for WVU.

“He obviously had a wonderful experience at WVU, and he’s sending us some outstanding recruits,” the Hall of Fame retiree stated.

He said he sat down and had a nice chat with his former player when the two met here last spring.

Cogdell is married and has three children, a son and two daughters.

“I enjoyed my years playing football at West Virginia,” Cogdell concluded. “I’m also enjoying coaching down here.”

Text Only
College Sports
  • Herd lands ‘Other D’Antoni’

    Danny D’Antoni hasn’t been a West Virginia resident in nearly 40 years. That will soon change, and his family could not be happier.
    D’Antoni will be introduced as Marshall’s new head men’s basketball coach at a press conference at 2 p.m. today. Athletic director Mike Hamrick announced the hiring via Twitter Thursday afternoon.

    April 24, 2014

  • WVU baseball begins series with Kansas State in Morgantown today

    The West Virginia University baseball team will host Kansas State in a key Big 12 Conference series this weekend at Hawley Field. Game one begins at 6 p.m. today. Game two begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and the first pitch for game three is set for noon on Sunday.

    April 24, 2014

  • Hamrick deserves praise for pursuit of D’Antoni

    Sometimes gambles don’t pay off, but some risks simply have to be taken.

    April 23, 2014

  • WVU post-spring depth chart filled with few surprises

    Although the contents brought about as much of a surprise as a over the hill balloon at a 40th birthday party, there were a few interesting nuggets in the post-spring depth chart that West Virginia University sent out Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • Clutch hitting leads WVU over Marshall

    Junior catcher Cam O’Brien finished  a home run away from the cycle and scored three runs as the WVU baseball team defeated Marshall, 10-3, on Wednesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 23, 2014

  • Gardner improving with broken neck

    Joedy Gardner, a well-known former West Virginia basketball player and coach, is much improved after having broken his neck in Phoenix, Ariz., several months ago.

    April 23, 2014

  • 042314 trickett Mountaineers have benefited from incoming football transfers

    Recruiting in college football seems to get more and more attention every season. Websites like and stalk the high school sidelines and blow up potential recruits’ cell phones in search of the latest information. But there’s one important aspect that often goes ignored — transfers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU baseball pounds Terps

    The offense had 16 hits and sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out six as the West Virginia University baseball team routed Maryland 14-2 on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 22, 2014

  • Crutchfield not interested in Division I job

    You would think Jim Crutchfield would be a great candidate for a head basketball coach’s job at an NCAA Division I university.
    But the Clarksburg native keeps saying that he’s perfectly content in that role at West Liberty, a Division II powerhouse. His 10-year record there is an absolutely amazing 272-49. Significantly, 10 of those defeats came in his first year at the West Liberty helm.

    April 22, 2014

  • Stepping up: Kelly racking up wins for Lions

    Sundays have become red-letter days for Chris Kelly.

    April 22, 2014