- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
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A week after making his debut as a playcaller in Texas A&M's 41-13 rout of Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl, assistant coach Clarence McKinney has been given the chance to call plays for Heisman-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel next season.
McKinney, the Aggies' running backs coach, has been elevated to co-offensive coordinator and will be the team's primary playcaller moving forward, a source with knowledge of the hire told ESPN.com Friday. McKinney will help fill the void left by former offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who was named as Texas Tech's new coach in December.
Former West Virginia quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital will be co-offensive coordinator and will coach the quarterbacks, the source said. CBSSports.com earlier reported the hiring of Spavital.
The 42-year-old McKinney has worked with Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin since 2008, when both were in their first year at the University of Houston. Sumlin, the head coach, hired McKinney as the running backs coach. Prior to joining Sumlin at Houston, McKinney was the coach at Yates High School, his alma mater, in Houston.
In his final two years at Houston, McKinney added the title of recruiting coordinator to his running back coaching duties, a title he also possessed in his first year at Texas A&M. McKinney was a high school and college quarterback, playing at Yates High before going on to Montana State and later to the University of Mary, where he graduated in 1994.
He began his coaching career in 1997 at Booker T. Washington High School in Houston as an assistant. It was there he first crossed paths with Sumlin, then a receivers coach at Purdue who recruited in Texas.
After the Aggies' resounding win in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4, Sumlin spoke highly of the job McKinney did as a playcaller.
"Him calling plays tonight, obviously you can call plays randomly, but unless the players believe in it, doesn't really matter," Sumlin said. "These guys executed and made the plays, but I thought he did an excellent job this evening."
Spavital, 27, was an offensive graduate assistant at Houston in 2009 with Sumlin and then-offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen. That season, the Cougars ranked No. 1 nationally in offense and went 10-4, with upset wins over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
In 2010, Spavital joined Oklahoma State in the same capacity, then took the quarterbacks coach job the following season at West Virginia, where Holgorsen was head coach. Spavital, also a former quarterback, played high school ball for Oklahoma Class 6A power Tulsa Union and was a college quarterback and punter at Missouri State, where he graduated in 2008.
He began his coaching career in 2008 as an offensive graduate assistant at the University of Tulsa. He has worked with Houston's Case Keenum, Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and West Virginia's Geno Smith.
Aggies assistant coach Clarence McKinney was given the chance to call plays for Heisman winning quarterback Johnny Manziel next season.