The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

January 7, 2013

WVU fires best-known assistant Dunlap

MORGANTOWN — Dana Holgorsen has fired defensive assistant coach Steve Dunlap from his West Virginia University football coaching staff.

While it was not officially announced to the media, WVU director of football communications Mike Montoro confirmed Sunday morning that Dunlap was informed Saturday of his dismissal.

Montoro added that Dunlap will be paid his salary of $250,000 through June 30.

So Holgorsen, head coach the past two seasons, now has two vacancies to fill on his staff. Daron Roberts was fired last month.

As a native of Hurricane, Dunlap was the only true, full-fledged West Virginian among the assistant coaches. He also was the oldest and by far the most experienced member of the overall staff, nearly all of whom were hired from other states.

Dunlap has been coaching 36 years, all at the collegiate level. And he was in his 26th year at alma mater West Virginia.

He has filled a variety of positions during his coaching career. His responsibilities at WVU this year were special teams and outside linebackers.

Defensive and offensive coordinator, as well as assistant head coach, have been among the roles Dunlap has filled over the years since graduating from WVU in 1975.

A three-year starter as a linebacker, he set school records for total tackles in a season (190) and in a game (28).

He still ranks No. 10 on the career tackle list with 359.

Dunlap coached in 19 bowl games and tutored 11 professional players and 30 all conference players at West Virginia in two separate stints.

He also coached at Marshall, North Carolina State and Syracuse.

Dunlap, who could not be contacted for comment on Sunday, probably would say 1996 was his most enjoyable year of his coaching career.

That was when, as a defensive coordinator at WVU, his unit led the nation as No. 1 in total defense. It also was No. 2 nationally in rushing defense and in turnover margin, No. 4 in scoring defense and No. 5 in pass efficiency defense.

As a result, Dunlap qualified for the Broyles Award finals. That is for the title of nation’s top assistant in college football.

Despite that high honor, and various others, he was not named defensive coordinator this year. Holgorsen saw fit to bring in Joe DeForest, who never had been a defensive coordinator.

While demoted during this past season, he’s still on the staff and reportedly receiving $500,000 annually.

West Virginia’s defense this year was widely known as ranking among the worst in the school’s history.

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