By Mickey Furfari
Times West Virginian
Where will veteran Steve Dunlap end up as West Virginia University puts together a new defensive coaching staff?
That is, if he decides to return to his alma mater through the 2012 football season as stated in his contract.
Joe DeForest resigned at Oklahoma State to join 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 Rich 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.
The Associated Press reported Friday, though, that defensive backs coach Willie Martinez has resigned from Oklahoma’s coaching staff to make room for Mike Stoops — head coach Bob Stoops’ younger brother — to become the new co-defensive coordinator.
Bob Stoops says his brother will be co-defensive coordinator with Venables, and the two are already out recruiting together.
Mike Stoops was the Sooners’ co-defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2003 before spending the past seven-plus seasons as Arizona’s head coach. He was fired in October.
Kirelawich, a Frackville, Pa., native, had been at WVU 33 years — 31 as a football coach. He is a graduate of Salem College. His wife, Maggie, is a well-known school teacher in Monongalia County.
It is thought by some friends that they may have decided they would like to retire in Arizona eventually.
Kirelawich has been a highly vocal, but tremendously respected coach by his players as well as co-coaches with whom he has worked so long.
He was named by Footballscoop.com as National Defensive Line Coach of the Year in 2010.
Kirelawich coached for WVU in 23 of its 31 all-time bowl appearances.
Four of his pupils attained All-America honors, and 30 made all-conference teams. Ten played in the NFL.
Casteel, a native of Paden City, has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from California University (Pa.). His wife is named Rosemary.
He had been coaching at WVU 11 years, dating back to 2001 when Rodriguez took over as head coach.
Casteel’s defensive units have ranked among the nation’s finest.
He has been coaching for 27 years.
Lockwood, whose hometown was Media, Pa., was a defensive back for West Virginia and graduated in 1989.
He is married to Heidi Lockwood. He has been coaching 24 years, the last six at WVU.
Lockwood was a senior on the Mountaineers’ undefeated, untied 1988 football team that played for the national championship. He was a four-year letterman.
With three newcomers and Dunlap on the defensive staff at WVU, Holgorsen would put together a huge amount of collegiate coaching experience.
Only time will tell.