Maintaining momentum: Brohm plans to keep WKU rolling as head coach

WKU athletic director Todd Stewart (left) and WKU president Gary Ransdell (right) present new WKU head football coach Jeff Brohm with a jersey during the press conference in which Brohm was introduced on Friday, Jan. 10.

Elliott Pratt

There may be a change at the top, but maintaining momentum and continuity was the overarching theme when WKU announced Jeff Brohm as the 19th football coach of the Hilltoppers Friday afternoon in the Jack and Jackie Harbaugh Club in Smith Stadium

Brohm enters his first season as a head coach at the collegiate level after serving as the offensive coordinator last season under former coach Bobby Petrino, who accepted the Louisville job Thursday.

Brohm agrees to a four-year contract with an annual base salary of $600,000, with a $1.5 million buyout in his first year, decreasing $300,000 each year. The 42-year-old Louisville native’s contract includes annual incentive bonuses, including a $50,000 bump if the team wins a bowl game, something the Toppers have yet to do at the FBS level.

Brohm will lead WKU into its first year in Conference USA, and a $50,000 bonus is called for if the Toppers when the conference championship. He also announced that defensive coordinator Nick Holt will stay on the staff and has been promoted to associate head coach.

“I think (Conference USA is) a quality conference and we’re excited to be in it,” Brohm said. “It will bring a lot of energy to our fans and team to play new teams and experiment with going to different places and I think we fit in great.”

“In our first year our goal is to win the conference championship.”

Keeping the momentum and staying on the cutting edge is what Brohm believes will help maintain the momentum already set forth by this team, saying the foundation is already set, and now he is ready to hit the ground running as the head honcho of team.

“We’re going to try to stay on the cutting edge, be ahead of the curve and be creative,” Brohm said. “That’s one thing as a coach that I take pride in is not just studying ourselves but the best teams in the country and not making sure we’re missing out on anything other teams do and making sure we’re giving our players the best chance to succeed.”

The best chance to succeed, Brohm said, starts in the classroom. He stressed that the number one goal for players is to graduate and obtain degrees. Brohm’s contract also calls for a $50,000 bonus for an academic progress rate of 950, and a $25,000 raise for an APR of 970.

“To achieve these goals and get to where we want to be is going to require hard work on a daily basis,” Brohm said. “I believe we all need to pursue greatness through a commitment to excellence on a daily basis, and for our football program this means winning championships and treating people in a first class manner. Success happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Athletic director Todd Stewart added that because Brohm’s intentions were to one day be a head coach, no matter where it may be, he had an advantage of a “12-month interview” and said it would have been a waste of time to interview anyone else for the job.

“Jeff earned this over the past 12 months and was a big reason we won eight games,” Stewart said.

Brohm said he came back to his home in Kentucky to learn the ropes of being a head coach, adding that he wanted an “up close and personal look” at how Petrino ran a program. Petrino said Thursday during his own introductory press conference at Louisville that Brohm was “extremely ready” for the job.

“Coach knew what I wanted and there were opportunities before this as well that I had a chance to do. We sat down and talked and coach said ‘you have a great opportunity to be the head football coach here if you do things right’,” Brohm said. “He knew the best thing for me was to be the head coach at Western Kentucky.”