By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
Athletic director Oliver Luck is continuing to break up that old gang of Bill Stewart’s at West Virginia University.
Two more of his offensive coaches — running backs and slot back coach/recruiting director Chris Beatty and tight end/special teams coach Dave McMichael — were informed Thursday that they have been fired, according to a source inside the athletic department.
Both are to be paid next season.
That leaves only wide receiver coach Lonnie Galloway on the offensive side of the ball who has yet to be terminated.
It was revealed when Luck decided to bring in wunderkind offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen as coach-in-waiting to replace Stewart as head coach after the 2011 season that offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen and offensive line coach Dave Johnson would not have their contracts renewed.
The offense was considered the main culprit through this year’s disappointing 9-4 season with Mullen’s game-planning and the work of Johnson’s offensive line often under heavy criticism.
The 23-7 loss to North Carolina State in the Champs Sports Bowl did nothing to help any of the offensive coaches convince Luck or Holgorsen that they should be retained.
If Galloway is retained, it will be because he worked well with a group of young Mountaineer receivers that included Tavon Austin, Steadman Bailey, J.D. Woods and Ivan McCartney, building a strong relationship with quarterback Geno Smith.
Beatty, a wide receiver at East Carolina in the early 1990s, was highly regarded and thought to be good material to develop into a head coach in the future. However, this season the Mountaineer running game slipped badly and running back Noel Devine seemed to severely regress. Some blamed it on injury but it appeared throughout that there were other reasons that he lost some of quickness and elusiveness.
Beatty did work with record breaking slot back Jock Sanders and Austin, who figures to become the prime target of Smith next season.
McMichael played on the offensive line at Bowling Green for Don Nehlen in the mid-1970s and joined Nehlen at West Virginia in 1983. When Nehlen retired after the 2000 season, joined Randy Edsall at Connecticut and was there until returning to West Virginia this year.
While Will Johnson did a solid job at tight end for WVU this year, Holgorsen probably will not make must use of the tight end in his wide open passing attack known as the “Air Raid.”
No replacements were named.
To date, there has been no word on any changes in the defensive staff that under coordinator Jeff Casteel ranked second in the nation after the regular season. It is expected that all will return, although any time there is a new head coach brought in any defection would not be surprising.
Holgorsen ended his one season as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State as the Cowboys defeated Arizona, 36-10, in the Alamo Bowl.
E-mail Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.