MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Jeff Casteel has twice - that the public knows of - had the opportunity to leave West Virginia and become the defensive coordinator and work at another BCS conference school.
In 2008, he decided against joining staff at the University of Michigan. In January, Casteel declined an offer to take over the defense at Vanderbilt University.
For a guy about to begin his 11th season with the Mountaineers - and 10th as defensive coordinator - when practice begins today, there has been incentive to leave.
"I just didn't think either time that it was going to be the right situation for me," Casteel said. "So I decided to stay."
Rodriguez hired Casteel in 2001, promoted him to co-defensive coordinator in 2002 and then the exclusive position a year later.
He could've been the defensive coordinator at Michigan in 2008 with much of his staff from WVU, but chose to stay and work with Bill Stewart, with whom he had a history.
This offseason was unique. Dana Holgorsen came in December and eventually replaced the offensive coaching staff.
In June, he was promoted to replace Stewart, who resigned in the middle of a mess that questioned his spirit of cooperation.
In between, Casteel was courted by Coach James Franklin at Vanderbilt. Franklin and Casteel squared off when Franklin was coaching receivers and quarterbacks and running the offense at the University of Maryland.
Then there was Herb Hand, the Vanderbilt offensive line coach who worked with Casteel from 2001-06 at WVU.
He would sleep in Casteel's basement on recruiting trips when Hand recruited the eastern panhandle while at Concord and Glenville State and Casteel was at Shepherd.
Again, Casteel remained in Morgantown.
"It still goes back to my family still being here in West Virginia and where I just thought it was a good situation for me," said Casteel, whose wife is from Paden City and whose son and daughter are beginning their junior and freshman years at University High School. "You really get tied to the players, too, so I just didn't think the time was right again."
Family was part of the process, but football couldn't be ignored, either. The defensive staff members signed new contracts, with Casteel getting a raise and a three-year contract and the other three assistants getting raises and two-year deals. Yet the transition was forced upon them and it was easy for outsiders to project a division between the new and the old.