MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–When Jahmile Addae left West Virginia in 2006, it was always in his mind that he would return to the state that became his home.
“I knew I’d get back here,” he said. “They say there is power in the tongue and you got to speak it into existence. For me, I knew it was a dream of mine to come back home and be able to coach ball. This isn’t a job for me. This is a brotherhood, this is a fraternity. It’s family and I know that’s somewhat cliché in our profession but obviously for me it’s a personal deal.
Addae played for the Mountaineers from 2001-2005, where he finished his WVU career with 253 tackles, including 152 solo stops and 25 pass breakups, fifth in program history. He also ranks third in single-season pass breakups with 16 during the 2002 season.
After his playing career subsided, the Valrico, Florida native entered the wonderful world of coaching.
In 2010, Addae got his coaching start at the University of Cincinnati under former head coach Butch Jones. There he was the running backs coach for two seasons.
Afterwards, he went to Arizona as a defensive analyst and then the defensive backs coach.
In 2018, Addae got on at the University of Minnesota as the defensive backs coach. Now, his journey has returned him to the Mountain State and Morgantown.
While his travels weren’t a straight line back to the beginning, Addae’s travels have taught him important lessons in life and his career.
“I tell you what, every move has given me something to take with myself as I better myself as a young coach and in this profession that’s what you want to continue to do is develop and get better as you go,” he said. “I think all those moves getting back here full circle has allowed me to be the coach that I am.”
Each stop has been crucial to who Addae is today.
“You take some and you leave some,” he said. “Working for Butch (Jones), working for Rich (Rodriguez), working for P.J (Fleck), three guys that have done really, really well in the profession, along with a lot of coordinators that are doing well. I like to say that football, especially coaching, is a copycat profession. If something works, you are going to take it and use it. So I’d like to think that I’ve grabbed a lot of good things from some folks and left what I didn’t think was pertinent or important to necessarily my position or bettering my guys. So I think that’s what’s molded me into what’s showed up on campus here recently.”
While the former safety was given the opportunity to return back to his Alma Mater, it wasn’t the easiest decision of his life. He had a good thing in Minnesota.
Neal Brown and Addae had never really crossed paths before now but with some help from former colleagues, the two linked up.
“Coach Kirk Ciarrocca was our offensive coordinator at Minnesota and knew him,” he said. “So I’m pretty sure he had somewhat of a barometer there. I know there is a few coaches that I worked for, employed for that knew him as well. In terms of us having any type of contact before then I’d lie if I’d say so.”
Once the two began talking, the character of Brown really stood out to Addae and he couldn’t pass on the chance to return.
“I do know it was a lengthy interview process, most of it being done over the phone,” he said. “I got a chance to two-way interview him, which I got a chance to know how he is as well. Because I did have a good situation where I was at, at Minnesota. It wasn’t just coming back home that brought me back but all the fact that I’d be working for a guy that has upward mobility, that I feel like is going upwards within the profession. That stands for the things that I stand for as a coach and that really understands what it takes to win. Obviously, he’s won quite a few ballgames as a lower level and beat some really good talent. He’s done a lot with a little and that’s said a lot, along with just being a great family man. So it’s a good fit for me.”
Now, Addae is ready to embrace his new career at WVU as the defensive secondary coach, where he will be recruiting the Eastern Panhandle/ Martinsburg area; South Washington, D.C.; Richmond, Va., as well as Gainesville, Tampa and Tallahassee Florida and Las Vegas.
“I’m really, really excited to be back,” he said. “I think the fanfare, the community, the players, it’s all been conformation to whether or not I made the right decision to come back home and I definitely feel I did.”
Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS