Brohm: WKU will ‘keep chugging along’ after losing assistants Helton, Callaway to Southern Cal

Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm lifts the trophy after WKU's 45-35 win over South Florida in the Miami Beach Bowl NCAA college football game Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Miami.
Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm lifts the trophy after WKU's 45-35 win over South Florida in the Miami Beach Bowl NCAA college football game Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Miami. Daily News (Bowling Green) via AP

Western Kentucky Coach Jeff Brohm is ready to keep his offensive machine in motion.

He’ll have to do so with some new assistants at his side.

Southern Cal officially announced the hiring of former Hilltopper assistants Tyson Helton and Neil Callaway on Monday.

“With coach Helton and coach Callaway, we definitely appreciate all the hard work and dedication they gave our program and to our team,” Brohm told the Daily News on Monday in his first public comments since the Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 21. “We wish them nothing but the best in their next stop. Those things happen. That’s part of the business. We’ll regroup and get some good guys in here to replace them and we’ll just keep chugging along.

“That’s going to happen every year. Normally when you’re doing well, it’s going to happen maybe more so than other years. It’s nothing uncommon.”

Shortly after Brohm’s interview, Southern Cal put out a release welcoming Helton and Callaway to the coaching staff.

Helton, WKU’s offensive coordinator for the last two years, will be the Trojans’ running backs coach and passing game coordinator. Callaway, the Tops’ offensive line coach for the past three seasons, will take the same position at Southern Cal.

“We are very excited to welcome Tyson and Neil to the Trojan Family,” Southern Cal Coach Clay Helton said in a news release. Clay Helton is the older brother of Tyson Helton.

“Their experience and knowledge will be a huge benefit to our players as well as our football program. Both have been highly successful coordinators and we look forward to the fresh energy and ideas they will bring. I have watched them produce a pair of top 10 offenses that averaged more than 44 points a game each of the past two years. We look forward to them helping bring the same explosiveness to our offense at USC.”

Brohm said he doesn’t have a timetable for filling those vacancies, but he’s been impressed by the talent pool that’s shown interest.

As evidenced by Southern Cal plucking away two of its coaches, WKU’s standout offense is starting to carry some clout.

“I’m normally pretty patient on stuff like this, and the last thing I want to do is move too quick,” Brohm said. “January is a very fluid month. Every year, it’s more and more fluid in the coaching business. My phone’s definitely been ringing off the hook — and emails and text — of a lot of big-time people that want to be a part of it. Now it’s just a matter of making sure we get the right mix of guys that are not only well-accomplished, but guys that want to be here — that it means something to them — and that I think will fit in well with what we have as a staff.

“You’re always looking for people that have a great work ethic, are great teachers and care about the kids. I think we’ll be just fine.”

Brohm has promoted internally before.

When Brohm was first hired, offensive quality control coach JaMarcus Shephard was elevated to wide receivers coach.

When running backs coach Greg Nord left for Florida after the 2014 season, Brohm promoted then-offensive quality control coach Bryan Ellis into that spot.

So it stands to reason that Brohm might give those already on staff a look for the current vacancies.

“I’ve promoted internally the last two years, so that’s always an option,” Brohm said. “Two years ago with coach Shephard, we bumped him up. He’s done a great job. Last year with coach Ellis, we bumped him up. He’s done an excellent job. Obviously, you do as much as you can to reward the people that are here, but in the end, you’ve got to do what’s best for the team and the whole overall staff. But that’s definitely an option, for sure.”

Although Brohm accomplished a great feat by keeping all of his staff together in 2014 except Nord, it would’ve been a monumental task to not lose anyone after this year’s 12-2 campaign.

But still, the three assistants that have moved on so far have headed for Southern Cal and Florida, so it’s safe to stay their time with the Hilltoppers heightened their status.

“I think we had a great staff continuity, and they all got along together well,” Brohm said. “They enjoyed working with each other. Because of that, I think we meshed and got a lot out of each other individually and as a cohesive group. That all went well, but every year, things are going to come up.”

Brohm also said he’s been pleased with the way recruits have responded since the news broke on New Year’s Eve that Helton and Callaway were on the move.

Both assistants commanded respect from WKU’s prospects. Helton was viewed as a strong piece of the offensive attack, and virtually no offensive line commit discussed choosing the Hilltoppers without mentioning Callaway, a veteran of many renowned programs.

But the top guy is staying, and Brohm believes he has all his future players on board.

“I talked to them all right when it kind of broke out,” he said. “Everybody has questions because you develop a relationship, but they’re all extremely committed to WKU. They sounded great over the phone. They understand the nature of the business and why things happen, and I at this point don’t have any issues whatsoever and feel like whoever has committed to come here has done it for the right reasons. I feel good about where we’re at. I think they’re all eager to be a part of our team and our program.”