By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
The signs point to Chuck Heater becoming Marshall’s next defensive coordinator.
No official announcement had been made as of Wednesday afternoon, but an informed source indicated Heater appears to be the leading candidate.
Heater, currently the defensive coordinator at Temple, would replace Chris Rippon, who resigned the position Nov. 24. Rippon was also Marshall’s special teams coach.
When a hire is officially made, it would end weeks of speculation. In addition to Heater, names rumored as candidates have included Bowling Green defensive coordinator Mike Elko, Vanderbilt defensive backs coach/defensive recruiting coordinator George Barlow and former Penn State assistant Tom Bradley, who was the Nittany Lions’ interim head coach in 2011 after Joe Paterno was fired.
There was also speculation that former Herd defensive assistant Steve Dunlap, who was fired at West Virginia University over the weekend, would land back in Huntington. But a source said that would be unlikely at this point.
Marshall had the top offense in Conference USA in 2012, averaging 40.9 points and 534.2 yards per game. But the Thundering Herd finished the season 5-7 and missed out on bowl eligibility because the defense was at or near the bottom of every statistic, including last in scoring defense, allowing 43.1 points per game.
Born in Weston, Heater eventually moved to Ohio and was a running back for the University of Michigan. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 1975 but was soon released and began his coaching career soon after.
Heater has made many stops, most notably under Urban Meyer at the University of Florida. He and Marshall head coach Doc Holliday were on the staff when the Gators beat Ohio State for the 2007 BCS National Championship.
— E-mail: email@example.com