By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Where will veteran Steve Dunlap end up in West Virginia’s new defensive coaching staff?
That is, if he decides to return to his alma mater through the 2012 football season as stated in his signed contract.
Joe DeForest has resigned at Oklahoma State to join new coach Dana Holgorsen’s defensive staff in Morgantown. They worked together in 2010 when Holgorsen was the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator at OSU.
DeForest, who was officially hired to a yet-to-be determined position Saturday, spent 11 years there. He was assistant head coach and tutored the special teams and safeties.
Jeff Casteel, Bill Kirelawich and Dave Lockwood took slight pay cuts in leaving WVU to join Rick Rodriguez’s new coaching staff at the University of Arizona a few days ago.
Casteel was defensive coordinator, Kirelawich coached the defensive line and Lockwood the cornerbacks.
Signed for $450,000 in 2012 and $500,000 in 2013, Casteel accepted a base salary of $425,000 for a year with Arizona.
Kirelawich went from $250,000 at WVU to $225,000 and Lockwood from $225,000 to $210,000.
All three obviously expect to be retained annually on one-year deals.
In announcing completion of his staff, Rodriguez, hired at Arizona in November, said, “I may be biased, but I think I have the best coaching staff in America.”
Dunlap, who coached the safeties under Holgorsen in 2011, was left as the lone member of the 2011 defensive staff when 11-year coordinator Casteel rejoined Rodriguez at Arizona and Kirelawich and Lockwood with him.
Dunlap, who has 35 years of coaching experience, hasn’t said what he intends to do. He was in his office on Friday but did not return telephone calls.
The Hurricane native served 25 years as an assistant coach at WVU under Hall of Famer Don Nehlen, including most of the time as defensive coordinator. His defensive unit in 1996 ranked No. 1 nationally in total defense and No. 2 in rushing defense.
Dunlap also served short stints at Marshall, North Carolina State and Syracuse.
He coached in two national championship games and 18 bowl contests. Dunlap starred as a linebacker in the mid-1970s at WVU and set a school record for tackles.
Holgorsen must rebuild his defensive coaching staff as quickly as possible. Apparently, he wanted to bring in coaches he had targeted previously.
The three who departed last week for Arizona reportedly thought or knew Holgorsen planned changes. A head coach certainly should have that right.
So Rodriguez’s openings had to be timely for that trio.
Brent Stewart has resigned as defensive coordinator at the University of Houston and is thought to be a potential candidate for WVU hiring.
He worked with Holgorsen at Houston in 2009.
Still another veteran defensive coach being mentioned in possible connection with WVU’s openings is Brent Venables. He has been at Oklahoma since 1999.
If the three would-be newcomers and Dunlap form the defensive staff, Holgorsen will have put together a huge amount of collegiate coaching experience.
Only time will tell.