Western Kentucky wasted no time finding the man to replace former WKU football coach Bobby Petrino. The Daily News has learned that WKU offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm will be named coach as early as Friday.
Brohm, 42, will become head coach for the first time in his football career. Last season, as an assistant alongside Petrino, who was hired by Louisville on Thursday, the Hilltoppers set a school record for wins (eight) in a Football Bowl Subdivision season and offensive yards with 5,502.
One of Brohm's main tasks was working with and developing the team's quarterbacks – Brandon Doughty, a rising senior this season, set a program record with 2,737 passing yards in a season and completed 65.7 percent of his passes.
"I believe he is" ready, Petrino said Thursday. "That was one of the things when Jeff came to Western from UAB that we talked about. My recruiting process of him was getting ready to be a head coach. He had said to me, 'I now know I want to be, and that I'm going to be, a head coach. I would appreciate you helping me with everything you can do to get ready for that.' We've been working hard at it, and he's extremely ready for it."
Brohm will become the Hilltoppers' third coach in as many seasons and the fourth in the past six. He'll also become the third coach of the last four hired by WKU who hasn't any prior head coaching experience.
A Louisville native, Brohm played at Trinity High School and then the University of Louisville, where he was a part of the 1993 Liberty Bowl winning team under coach Howard Schellenberger. The former quarterback then spent seven seasons in the NFL, playing for the San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos.
Brohm began his coaching career in 2004 when he joined the staff at UofL as the program's quarterbacks coach. By the 2008 season, he had moved into the offensive coordinator role. He went from Florida Atlantic to Illinois to Alabama-Birmingham to WKU over the next five years.
He'll inherit a team that returns eight starters on offense, but only three on defense. The Tops will also enter a new league as a full member of Conference USA. Before Petrino's departure, WKU signed 10 junior college players and received 20 verbal commitments – one of which (Chaka Diarrassouba, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound defensive back from Georgia) reneged and another (Dennis Edwards, a 6-2, 300-pound offensive lineman) whose scholarship offer was pulled earlier this month. So far, the other 19 have held firm in their commitments to WKU.
The first major date on Brohm's calendar is Feb. 5, national signing day for Division I college football. The Hilltoppers are scheduled to open the 2014 campaign Aug. 28 at home against Bowling Green State.