In another departure from Tony Elliott’s coaching staff, the Virginia Cavaliers’ Associate Head Coach and Wide Receivers Coach Marques Hagans is reportedly leaving the program for the WR position with the Penn State Nittany Lions. A former quarterback for the Wahoos, Hagans spent 11 years on staff for UVA and was made Associate Head Coach in addition to his positional duties when Elliott took over last year.
In his time in Charlottesville, Hagans had tremendous success coaching wide receivers as he was both an effective recruiter and a fantastic coach. He consistently helped underrated players reach potentials that few if any could’ve envisioned beforehand. The 2021 offense in particular was the culmination of fantastic work by Hagans, former quarterbacks coach Jason Beck, and offensive line coach Garrett Tujague as those three positional groups were the strength of the roster. Just over 12 months since that squad played its last game, all three of those coaches have now left the program for the same jobs with other programs.
Tujague’s recent departure left a hole in the staff that hurt UVA on the recruiting trail considering how it took longer than expected to hire his replacement, who ended up being Stanford’s Terry Heffernan. With Hagans departing in late January, it’s going to be difficult, nay impossible to find a replacement who lives up to his level of coaching or recruiting acumen.
Hopefully, for Virginia, Elliott can make a quality hire quickly here and avoid any potential complications with the 2023 signing class. In the long run, one would hope that Elliott — who was a wideout himself — can build an offensive staff that was as successful as Bronco Mendenhall’s in the final years of his tenure. It’s still absolutely very early in the Elliott era of UVA football and so much of his first year on the job has been out of his hands. But the Hagans loss is significant as is who Elliott can get to replace him.