After receiving a demotion from play-calling duties to make way for new offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, Texas Longhorns wide receivers coach Jay Norvell is leaving Austin to become the passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach for the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Multiple sites on both sides reported the news late Thursday evening, which came only hours after the Longhorns announced that defensive backs coach Chris Vaughn would not have his contract renewed after he was connected to the alleged improprieties at Ole Miss.
Norvell seemingly confirmed the news on Friday morning:
Thanks and God Bless. pic.twitter.com/f4PIACBvu7— Jay Norvell (@UT_CoachNorvell) February 12, 2016
As for Norvell, he reportedly interviewed for the offensive coordinator position at Arizona State after the 2015 season, which saw him take over play-calling duties for assistant head coach for the offense/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson following the season opener against Notre Dame. Norvell called plays for the final 11 games and was widely expected to look elsewhere after losing that role.
In fact, the news was hardly surprising because Norvell did exactly that:
The 52-year-old Norvell has quietly sought employment in other places for much of the offseason, sources tell Horns247. Norvell had one year remaining on his two-year contract with Texas that paid him an annual salary of $355,000. With Norvell leaving his post voluntarily for another position, Texas does not owe him any of the remaining value of his contact. Under his deal, acquired by Horns247 through an open records request, Texas could chose to pursue liquidation damages of up to 25 percent of Norvell's base salary for the 2016 season at the discretion of Texas men's athletic director Mike Perrin and Strong.
The former Oklahoma assistant joined Texas after he was part of a widespread exodus from head coach Bob Stoops' staff in early 2015. Head coach Charlie Strong interviewed Norvell 13 months ago at the recommendation of Watson, who was terminated in December, along with offensive line coach Joe Wickline.
The connection to Strong came through the time that he spent working with Watson at Nebraska from 2004 to 2006, when he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when Watson was the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator.
In fact, Norvell was also the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at UCLA in 2007, so he had enough experience as a play caller that sticking long in the role of wide receivers coach at Texas was always unlikely. The former Iowa defensive back also has NFL experience after working with the Indianapolis Colts and Oakland Raiders.
Strong will now begin the search for his third wide receivers coach at Texas.