The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

January 9, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN: Was Dunlap a scapegoat victim in firing?

MORGANTOWN — Was West Virginia University’s young head football coach, Dana Holgorsen, in search of a scapegoat when he fired likable Steve Dunlap as an assistant?

I don’t know. I’m just asking. Holgorsen hasn’t given any reason(s). He never even had his publicist issue an official announcement.

But there’s a heap of criticism in the wake of West Virginia’s unacceptable 7-6 record for the past football season. And there are those who suggest that there’s a lot of blame to go around.

That’s why the Internet has been receiving strong support of Dunlap, a WVU linebacker in the mid-1970s. He was the only West Virginian on the 2012 coaching staff.

Now there are none. All of the returning coaches are from outside the Mountain State, and reportedly are recruiting more junior college players than usual for 2013.

Dunlap, at 59, was the oldest assistant and by far the most experienced in 2012. He probably has forgotten more about football than some coaches will ever learn.

Of Dunlap’s 36 years in coaching, 26 have been at West Virginia. He also served short stints at Syracuse, North Carolina State and Marshall.

All of his coaching has been at the collegiate level. And most of that service dealt with the defense.

WVU had him coaching the special teams and outside linebackers.

As a defensive coordinator, his units ranked No. 1 in total defense at WVU in 1996. It also was No. 2 nationally in rushing defense and No. 3 in passing efficiency defense.

His defenses at North Carolina State, Syracuse and Marshall reportedly also were well prepared.

But West Virginia’s defense last fall had to be one of the worst in the school’s history.

The media guide lists these coaching highlights to which Dunlap contributed greatly:

• In 2010, the WVU defense was No. 3 in both total defense and scoring and No. 1 in pass defense nationally.

• In 2011, the defense was No. 11 in pass efficiency defense, No. 31 in interceptions, No. 32 in total defense and No. 35 in pass defense.

• In 2009, the defense led the Big East in interceptions (17).

• And in 2008, the defense finished No. 11 in scoring defense nationally and No. 16 in pass efficiency defense.

Has Steve Dunlap really lost his elegant touch? Or is he just the victim of being blamed for the screw-ups of others?

No one knows for sure, or so it seems.

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Mickey Furfari
  • FURFARI COLUMN: Ex-Mountaineer track star dies; WVU athlete arrests may be concern

    I’ve learned belatedly that James Gordon “Jim” Dial, an outstanding men’s track and field sprinter at West Virginia University during the late 1940s, has died.
    He was a native of Huntington who earned All-State first team status. The Huntington High star led all scorers in the state Track Championship meets in both 1946 and ’47.

    July 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Jedd Gyorko running and taking batting practice now

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    July 16, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU hopes to boost season-ticket sales

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    That will be on Saturday, Sept. 6, against Towson State. The Big 12 portion of the schedule follows.

    July 10, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: San Diego Padres’ Gyorko remains on disabled list

    Stringing together some odds and ends that may interest you:
    • Jedd Gyorko still is not active with the San Diego Padres. The former West Virginia University standout has been on the baseball’s disabled list for just over a month and hopes to return soon.

    July 9, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: It had to feel like ‘Ol’ Home Week’ for the Tricketts

    It might have felt like a bit of “Ol’ Home Week’ to West Virginia University starting quarterback Clint Trickett.
    His parents, Rick and Tara Trickett, were in the Morgantown area and stopped by to spend some time with Clint. They still live in Tallahassee, Florida.

    July 3, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU football season-ticket sales approximately 26,000

    Stringing together some odds and ends about sports that may be of interest to you:
    • West Virginia University season-ticket sales for the 2014 football campaign have reached approximately 26,000. That’s some 2,000 since the count of 24,000 when the renewal deadline was reached.

    June 27, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: USA Today has WVU 78th in football countdown from No. 128 to No. 1

    Like Las Vegas oddsmakers, USA Today’s sports writer Paul Myerberg doesn’t rank West Virginia highly in that newspaper’s early college football predictions in a copyrighted piece.
    In one of its thorough pieces, USA Today analyzed West Virginia in its No. 78 ranking among 128 college teams. That’s what is called a countdown from No. 128 to No. 1.

    June 24, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Las Vegas oddsmakers not kind to WVU in early listings

    Not long ago, I guessed that the West Virginia University football team will go 6-6 during the 2014 football season.
    That was based strictly on a hunch. It would show at least some improvement over last year’s pitiful 4-8 finish.

    June 22, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Five different items about a variety of sports

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • In a continuing federal court case out West, an economist recently testified that student athletes could receive as much as $1 million were he or she given a half share of a major college’s revenue from network game broadcasts over a four year period.

    June 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Noll was the most successful football coach I ever knew

    Charles Henry “Chuck” Noll was without question the most successful football coach at any level that I’ve ever known in my writing career.
    Noll, who died in his sleep at 82 last Friday night, served 23 enjoyable – and most memorable – years as mentor of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    June 17, 2014

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