The Times West Virginian

Breaking News

Sports

March 2, 2013

Gillespie latest WVU assistant to leave

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen has lost his fifth assistant coach of the off-season Friday as running backs coach Robert Gillespie jumped to the University of Tennessee.

The announcement was made by new Volunteer head coach Butch Jones, himself a former WVU assistant, after a five-day search for a replacement for Jay Graham, one of Tennessee’s top aides who left to join another West Virginian, Jimbo Fisher, at Florida State.

“We are very excited to welcome Robert and his family into the Tennessee family,” Jones said via a release on Friday night. “Coach Gillespie brings a vast knowledge of the SEC, having been part of it as both a player and a coach. Robert is a high-energy coach who will get the most out of his players, and he also has a great reputation in the coaching profession as a relentless recruiter.”

Previously Holgorsen had dismissed special teams coach Steve Dunlap, who is still working at the university until his contract expires, and cornerback coach Daron Roberts, while offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh left for a similar job at Oklahoma and quarterback coach Jake Spavital left for the same job at Texas A&M.

The timing of Gillespie’s departure is troublesome in that spring practice is less than two weeks away. It is also hurtful in that he, like Bedenbaugh, is an accomplished recruiter.

Gillespie came to WVU along with Holgorsen from Oklahoma State, where he coached in 2009-10 following a four-year (2006-09) stay in the SEC under Steve Spurrier at South Carolina.

Gillespie is familiar to Tennessee fans because he was a solid running back at Florida from 1998 to 2001, gaining 1,854 yards.

Gillespie was to earn $300,000 as an assistant at WVU.

While all of the coaches who left on their own did so for schools that could be perceived as the equal or better than WVU, they were lateral moves as far as jobs were concerned, leaving a perception of instability at WVU.

This is a major change from the past where Don Nehlen, Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart had stability with their assistant coaches for the most part.

Holgorsen will have to move quickly to find a replacement.

It’s expected Holgorsen, who brought both former assistants Tony Gibson and Lonny Galloway back to WVU, will look hard at former WVU quarterback JuJuan Seider as a replacement for Gillespie.

Seider, who became a star quarterback at Florida A&M as a senior, is working for Doc Holliday at Marshall as running back coach and recruiting coordinator.

 Gillespie offered this on Twitter following the announcement that he was leaving:

“The Gillespie Family had a blast at #WVU and you guys will always hold a place in our hearts. We'll always root for The Mountaineers!”

A WVU official said Holgorsen would have no comment on Gillespie's departure.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • University hands Huskies first loss; East edges Elkins

    The mercy rule has been a familiar part of North Marion’s softball season.
    Through the first seven games, the Huskies regularly pounded their opponents with stingy defense, sharp pitching and timely hitting. Rarely did a game go all seven innings for the previously undefeated team.

    April 17, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Pirates shut out by Reds’ Cueto, 4-0

    Johnny Cueto was on his game, and the only thing that the Pirates could do was watch.
    Cueto pitched his third career shutout against the team that beat him in the NL wild card game, and Joey Votto hit a two-run homer that led the Cincinnati Reds over the Pirates 4-0 Wednesday for their first winning series this season.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • COLUMN: Extend summer practices without over-extending athletes

    Last week we told you about a proposal that would extend the summer practice period for West Virginia high schools.
    It’s already cleared the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Board of Control. Now it’s up to the West Virginia Board of Education to decide if the current three-week window should be expanded by five weeks.

    April 16, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates finish off suspended game, fall in nightcap

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole’s winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos