By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
MORGANTOWN — Steve Dunlap reportedly has told friends he will be rejoining West Virginia University’s football program in a new, non-coaching role on July 1.
The longtime defensive coach, who was dismissed by head coach Dana Holgorsen after the 2012 season, has remained on the WVU payroll because his contract doesn’t expire until June 30, 2013.
Dunlap, who’s widely known in football coaching circles, is said to be in line to stay in close contact with high school coaches in areas where West Virginia does much of its recruiting.
That presumably would mean a lot of traveling on his part if and when he takes the job.
Dunlap, who has been coaching for 35 years, did not respond to a telephone message left for him on Tuesday evening at his Morgantown home. Mike Montoro, director of WVU football communications, said Wednesday he could not confirm that Dunlap is to be rehired.
The former Mountaineer linebacker still holds the school record for most tackles in a game with 28.
He has earned numerous achievements during his lengthy career. He was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 1996 when he was WVU’s defensive coordinator.
That trophy goes to the person considered the nation’s top assistant coach of the year. Dunlap’s defensive unit led the country in virtually every major category statistically in 1996.
Besides West Virginia, Dunlap has served coaching stints at Marshall, North Carolina State, and Syracuse. His past four years here represented a second earlier stint of many more years at his alma mater.
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Dunlap, who helped at WVU’s recent spring football coaches clinic, attended the Mountaineers’ annual major fund-raising dinner earlier this week at the Charleston Civic Center.
Don Gay of St. Albans, who was one of the originators of these fetes, said about 500 WVU contributors were present. The cost was $1,500 for each table of 10 people.
That is the largest fund raiser by far in dollars which the Mountaineer Athletic Club has each year.
While the average person paid $150 per plate, Gay recalls that the fund-raiser he helped put together in 1988 drew an all-time record of 1,200 people at the Civic Center.
“And we charged each person only $35,” he chuckled. “Times have changed.”
That was the year West Virginia first played for the national championship against Notre Dame, and the Fighting Irish emerged 34-21 winners. Old timers will recall that WVU quarterback Major Harris injured his shoulder on the third offensive play of that contest.
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Neither WVU athletic director Oliver Luck nor WVU men’s basketball head coach Bob Huggins was present for the aforementioned fund-raising dinner at the Civic Center earlier in the week.
But prepared remarks by each of those major position-holders were shown and heard on a large screen.
Each said he had conflicting engagements.
However, head football coach Holgorsen and some of his assistants did attend along with other athletic officials.