Damon Cogdell is in his first year as an assistant coach on the defensive staff at West Virginia.
He comes to West Virginia after serving as a highly successful high school head coach and director of athletics at Class 8A Miramar High in Miramar, Fla. He was at Miramar from 2002-2014, serving as head coach since 2007 and defensive coordinator since 2002. He compiled an impressive 72-19 overall record, won the 2009 state championship, finished second in 2011 and advanced to at least the second round of the state high school playoffs each year.
“It’s exciting to welcome back a former Mountaineer to Morgantown. Damon Cogdell has been successful at every stage of his career from player to coach and has built one of the best high school football programs in the state of Florida,” Holgorsen says. “Now, as he takes his next coaching step to major college football, it’s certainly appropriate that he starts at his alma mater. He brings a wealth of experience in developing and coaching student-athletes, and his knowledge will be a great asset to our program. He also knows what it means to be a Mountaineer and what this program means to our state, and I am excited to add him to our staff.”
He has had more than 50 players go on to play college football, including former Mountaineer greats and current NFL players Geno Smith, a second round NFL draft pick in 2013 by the New York Jets, Stedman Bailey, who earned All-American honors at WVU and was a third round NFL draft pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2013, and Tracy Howard, a current standout defensive back at the University of Miami. Current Mountaineer Devonte Mathis played for Codgell, as did former Mountaineer defensive lineman Josh Taylor and wide receiver Ivan McCartney.
“Coming back to West Virginia University is like a breath of fresh air,” Cogdell says. “Being here on the coaching staff is a dream come true. I had a great experience as a student-athlete, then I was able to go to Miami and build a highly competitive football program and won a bunch of games, was able to send eight players to play for the Mountaineers and now come full circle. I am so proud of my kids who came here and were successful, especially Geno and Stedman, who have accomplished so much. Getting to be there at the Orange Bowl two years ago and see all the guys perform on that high of a level was unbelievable. Being here at West Virginia is like being at my home away from home, from the secretaries, to the graduate assistants, the staff, the assistant coaches and Dana, it’s one big family. I am looking forward to making a big contribution to the University and the football program, I can’t wait to get started.”
Cogdell’s 2013 team finished 12-1, advanced to the third round of the state playoffs and finished No. 13 in the state. His 2012 squad finished 7-5 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. After graduating 42 seniors off of the 2009 state championship team, he had the No. 2-offense in the state, a top-10 defense, and led the 2010 team to an 8-4 record, advancing to the second round of the playoffs. That team also was invited to play Texas’ No. 2 ranked team DeSoto High in Dallas, garnering national attention. He had the No. 1 defense in the state in 2009 and was the first coach in Broward County to win the state championship. In his second year as the head coach in 2008, his Miramar squad finished 11-3 and advanced to the regional finals of the state playoffs and was ranked as high as No. 10 in the state.
Cogdell was the first runner-up for the National High School Coach of the Year by the US Army All-American Bowl in 2012, was the 2009 Nike and BCAA High School Coach of the Year, the 2009 High School Coach of the Year by the Miami Dolphins, The Miami Herald and Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. He was a head coach in the Private vs. Public Schools All-Star Game in 2010 and served as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Dade/Broward All-Star Games in 2006-08.
While he was the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator from 2002-06, his defense finished No. 1 in Broward County three times and the Patriots advanced to the state playoffs in 2004 and 2005. He had seven defensive players who were All-Broward County nominees, had 11 players named to the Dade/Broward All-Star team and had five players play college football at either Division I, II or III colleges. He was awarded the “Developing Boys into Young Men through Discipline in Sports” honor in 2006 by the Miami Dade Alumni Chapter of Bethune Cookman.
Cogdell also served as the head coach for the Miramar flag football team, which won the 2006 and 2009 state championship and the district championship in 2004 and 2005. Prior to his tenure at Miramar, Cogdell served as the linebackers and running backs coach at Centennial High in Alpharetta, Ga., from 2000-02, earning the 2002 Assistant Coach of the Year Award by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association. He helped lead Centennial to the state high school playoffs both years and also served as the strength and conditioning and head track coach. Cogdell has been a physical education teacher at Miramar since 2002 and has served as director of athletics since 2010.
After finishing his WVU career, he spent more than a year working as a site counselor and personal trainer at the Alpharetta YMCA, and was the starting linebacker for the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League in 2000 and 2001, helping the Lions earn the 2000 Gray Cup Championship.
Cogdell graduated from West Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in physical education with an emphasis in sport management in 1999 and has a physical education teaching certification. He was a standout linebacker with the Mountaineers in 1997 and 1998, finishing with 107 tackles, including 66 as a senior. He had seven tackles for loss, three sacks, two pass breakups and forced a fumble. He had a career-high 13 tackles against Virginia Tech in 1997 and a career-high two tackles for loss against Miami in 1997.
Cogdell and his wife, LeAndra, has three children, Destanie (18), Amaya (10) and Damon, Jr. (4).