By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Steve Dunlap, who turned 59 last Sunday, is by far the most experienced member of West Virginia University’s current football coaching staff.
What’s more, the Hurricane native, who’s in his 35th year of collegiate coaching, is the only member remaining from the Mountaineer staff of two years ago.
“Yes, I am the Lone Ranger,” Dunlap said earlier in the week. “Do I feel like a lone ranger? No!”
He has been given more responsibilities by Dana Holgorsen, WVU’s second-year head coach. Dunlap will serve as assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and coach of the outside linebackers.
He tutored the safeties in 2011 when the Mountaineers posted a 10-3 record. Now they’re leaving the Big East Conference to join the Big 12.
Dunlap, who has only one year left on his contract, said he has no plans whatsoever to retire from coaching after this season.
“I’m too young to retire,” he declared. “I just look old.”
Holgorsen said, “We are excited that Steve is staying on board, and he is going to be assistant head coach and special teams coordinator. That is important to me as far as having one guy that makes sure that they stay focused on taking care of the special teams.
“Last year we kind of broke it up quite a bit. I thought we got better and worked hard at it. But having a guy that makes sure that he just focuses and spends the better part of his day making sure that we do things schematically and evaluating talent. And all of that is something that is going to pay off.
“We still have a lot of guys who can work on special teams.”
Dunlap, who tutored defensive special teams last year, said he tells the players not to let punts get blocked or allow a kick returner to score a touchdown.
He was an outstanding linebacker under coach Bobby Bowden in 1973-74-75. Dunlap set school records for tackles in a season (198), tackles in a game (28) and tackles in a career (359).
As a senior, he helped West Virginia to a 9-3 record in 1975. The highlights were victories over Pitt 17-14, California 28-10, Tulane 32-28, Virginia Tech 10-7 and North Carolina State 13-10 in the Peach Bowl.
Dunlap worked with special teams each of his last three years at WVU, where he’s in his 26th year of coaching at his alma mater.
He also has served coaching stints at N.C. State, Syracuse and Marshall.
In 1996, his WVU defense ranked No. 1 in the nation and he was a finalist for the Broyles Award.