Coaching searches are ongoing across the country, so the names of assistants are surfacing in connection with various jobs.
Count Texas Longhorns passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Drew Mehringer among that group, as the Austin American-Statesman and Horns247 reported on Monday evening that Mehringer is a candidate to become the head coach of the James Madison Dukes. There’s also some buzz on the Virginia side.
Former James Madison head coach Mike Houston recently left the school to take over for Scottie Montgomery, who was fired at the end of November.
Mehringer’s ties to the school presumably make him an appealing candidate, as he served as the co-offensive coordinator in Harrisonburg during the 2014 season, helping James Madison make the FCS playoffs and set numerous offensive records.
However, the former Rice quarterback also has deep ties that connect him with Texas head coach Tom Herman — a year after suffering a career-ending injury, Mehringer became a student assistant for the Owls under Herman and later followed him to Iowa State, where he served as a graduate assistant. When Herman took over as the offensive coordinator at Ohio State, Mehringer followed him.
After Mehringer’s successful season at James Madison, he joined Herman in Houston as the recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach.
A one-year stint at Rutgers as the youngest play caller among all Power Five coaches followed before Mehringer once again joined Herman in Austin, where he’s had an extremely successful stint as a recruiter — in the 2019 cycle, he ranks as the No. 14 recruiter in the country and No. 2 in the Big 12, according to 247Sports.
At 31 years old, Mehringer has the youth and charisma to connect with high school prospects.
And he’s also combined with Corby Meekins to coax tremendous growth from all three starting wide receivers, particularly juniors Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey, who have combined for more than 2,000 receiving yards and 17 touchdown receptions.
“Drew is an outstanding young coach, and I’ve worked with him extensively over the years,” Herman said in announcing Mehringer’s hire at Texas. “He’s from Texas, went to Rice, and knows this state extremely well. Drew has a great offensive mind, gained tremendous experience at a lot of different places in a short period of time, and will be a terrific addition to our staff.”
Notably, Mehringer’s two-year contract with Texas is up after this season, so at the least, there will be another negotiation between the school and the rising assistant, who is certain to have other opportunities in the coming years.
If Mehringer does end up taking the James Madison job, former Kansas head coach David Beaty, who also has a longtime relationship with Herman, would immediately emerge as the frontrunner to replace Mehringer in Austin.