The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

January 6, 2011

WVU gets 3 new assistant coaches

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University football coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen, the Oklahoma State Cowboy, has gathered his posse and is ready to chase after the Big East championship.

As has been leaked all over the media for a week now, Holgorsen has brought in three men with whom he shares a background to run the WVU offense — Bill Bedenbaugh as offensive line coach; Robert Gillespie as running game coordinator; and Shannon Dawson as inside receivers coach.

Holgorsen, of course, will serve as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach this season while Bill Stewart remains one more season as head coach.

Bedenbaugh played at Iowa Wesleyan with Holgorsen under Mike Leach, and both spent six years together with him on Leach’s Texas Tech staff.

Gillespie spent the past two years as the running backs coach and assisting with the special teams at Oklahoma State under Holgorsen. He also handled the breakdown of the opponents’ blitz packages and the Cowboys run game preparation.

Dawson was a quarterback at Wingate in 1999, when Holgorsen was the quarterbacks and receivers coach.

Bedenbaugh comes to WVU after serving as a member of the football coaching staff at Arizona for the past four years, first as the offensive line coach and running game coordinator for three years (2007-09), before being elevated to co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach in 2010.

“West Virginia has a lot of history and tradition, has won championships, and I believe will continue to win championships and do even greater things into the future, and I want to be part of it,” Bedenbaugh was quoted as saying in a release from West Virginia.

Prior to his four-year stint at Arizona, Bedenbaugh spent seven years at Texas Tech, the first three (2000-02) as an offensive graduate assistant, working with the offensive line, the next two years (2003-04) as the running backs coach and his final two years (2005-06) as the offensive line coach.

Gillespie was part of Holgorsen’s Cowboy offensive staff, which led the nation in total offense, averaging 520.2 yards per game and finished No. 3 in the nation in scoring, averaging 44.2 points per game.

“West Virginia University is a program that has had a lot of history and built an outstanding tradition,” Gillespie said in the release. “I really look forward to joining the Mountaineer staff, getting to learn from coach Bill Stewart, continue working with coach Holgorsen and helping to build on the success that the program has already had.”

This past season, one of Gillespie’s running backs, Kendall Hunter, ran for 1,548 yards and scored 16 touchdowns, earning consensus first-team All-America honors and was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, signifying the top running back in the nation. True freshman running back Joseph Randle finished with 1,160 yards of all-purpose yardage.

Dawson joins the WVU football coaching staff after serving as the offensive coordinator at Stephen F. Austin for the past three seasons. As the offensive leader of the Lumberjacks during that time, SFA compiled a 23-14 record, won two straight Southland Conference Championships (2009, 2010) and advanced to two straight NCAA FCS playoff appearances (2009, 2010).

In 2010, he guided the nation’s No. 1 passing offense (362.2) and No. 4 scoring offense (36.3), ranking No. 6 in total offense (442.9).

“I have known coach Holgorsen for a long time, and we’ve always talked about working together and this is the first time that the opportunity has presented itself. I can’t wait to get started,” Dawson said.

The new coaches replace former offensive line coach Dave Johnson, running back coach Chris Beatty and tight ends/special teams coach Dave McMichael. They will be paid through July of 2012, a combined total of $1.3 million.

"With the official announcement today of our three new assistant coaches, our coaching staff for 2011 is complete,” Stewart said.

“The three new coaches are eager to get started and become a part of the Mountaineer family. I feel very confident we have two of the top coordinators in college football next year with Dana Holgorsen running our offense and Jeff Casteel heading up our defense. Our attention now is on recruiting until early February, and then we will start focusing on spring practice and the 2011 season.”

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