Virginia Cavaliers homing in on Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott for head football coach, sources say


Clemson Tigers offensive coordinator Tony Elliott has emerged as the top candidate to be the next head football coach for the Virginia Cavaliers, and a deal could be finalized as early as Wednesday, sources told ESPN.

Elliott and his family flew to Charlottesville, Virginia, on Wednesday to meet with UVa officials. He also met earlier this week with Duke officials about the Blue Devils’ head-coaching job. A full-time member of Dabo Swinney’s staff since 2011, Elliott was the Tigers’ co-offensive coordinator on their 2016 and 2018 national championship teams. He was named the Broyles Award winner in 2017 as the country’s top assistant coach.

Elliott has been the Tigers’ primary playcaller on offense for the past seven seasons. He also has coached tight ends and running backs during his time at Clemson.

Penn State co-defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter, an All-American safety at Virginia and former assistant there, told ESPN that he is no longer a candidate to be the head coach at his alma mater. He’s completing his first year at Penn State.

“Timing is everything for both sides,” Poindexter wrote in a text message. “There will be a day, but I’m going to stay at Penn State.”

Elliott, who also served as Swinney’s assistant head coach, played at Clemson and has been selective when other schools have come after him. He turned down the Tennessee head-coaching job last season and was also mentioned in connection with the Auburn and South Carolina head-coaching openings a year ago.

The Cavaliers are looking for a replacement for Bronco Mendenhall, who plans to step down as head coach after the Cavaliers’ bowl game.

If the deal between Virginia and Elliott is finalized, that means Swinney would have lost both his coordinators this year. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables was hired earlier this week as Oklahoma’s head coach. Sources told ESPN that Clemson senior defensive assistant Wes Goodwin is the strong favorite to replace Venables in a coordinator/co-coordinator role and that an official announcement is expected Friday.

Clemson quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter is expected to receive strong consideration to replace Elliott as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator.

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