Connecticut boy applied for Mountaineers coaching job

Updated: March 7, 2008, 10:13 PM ET

SOUTHINGTON, Conn. -- This kid wants to coach, and he thinks big.

Joshua Irizarry is all of 12 years old. That hardly stopped him from applying for the job of football coach at West Virginia University.

Insisting it was a "completely serious offer," the Connecticut boy outlined his skills in a letter to West Virginia president Mike Garrison when the job opened in December. They included "making up new plays to fool defenses in local sandlot games."

The kid also has an eye for marketing.

"Consider the publicity your campus would receive," he wrote in the letter. "I understand this would be a move more suited for a team like Temple, but I am just asking for your consideration.

"Don't think of this as hiring a 12-year-old kid from a nowhere town, but think of this as hiring a dedicated football mind trying to help a team," he said. "I would work for any conditions you would wish to provide."

In the end, Garrison settled for what he assured the boy was "an equally qualified candidate" to succeed Rich Rodriguez, who quit in December for the same post at Michigan. Former WVU assistant coach Bill Stewart now holds the title.

But in February, the president honored the boy's two alternative requests -- a written response and an autographed photo of his favorite Mountaineer, freshman running back Noel Devine.

Garrison told The Associated Press on Friday he was impressed with the boy's passion.

"The lawyer side of me appreciated the arguments he used for why he should be considered for the job," he said. "The father side of me recognized a young man with a lot of determination and ambition."

Lina Irizarry told the Record-Journal of Meriden her son has been a fan of the Mountaineers since he began watching football at age 4. He learned of the vacancy on ESPN and asked if he could apply. Despite the obstacles -- he's 500 miles away and doesn't drive -- he insisted he would find a way to live on the campus in Morgantown, W.Va.

"I told him writing the cover letter wouldn't hurt," his mother said. "When he received the response, he just lit up."

Now Joshua hopes WVU will accept him as a student and teach him to be a coach or trainer.

"I told the president in an e-mail after to keep my letter on file," he said.