Snyder Fires Kueck, Smith From Marshall Staff

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University Head Football Coach Mark Snyder announced Sunday that offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Larry Kueck and defensive line coach Thielen Smith have been released from the coaching staff.Any changes to current staff responsibilities will be announced at a later time, said Marshall University's Sports Information Department in a release on Sunday.

There were no comments from Snyder regarding the firings in the release, who stepped in as head coach in 2005. The Herd just finished its third losing season, and fourth season of non-winning record football, in a row with a 3-9 mark for 2007, 3-5 in Conference USA. Marshall did win its final three home games, including a thrilling 46-39 win over UAB on Senior Day this past Saturday.

UAB is one of three Conference USA teams Marshall has not lost to, posting a 3-0 mark in three years in C-USA against the Blazers. Marshall is 2-0 against Tulane and 1-0 against Rice, but has an overall mark of 10-14 in the league since joining in Snyder's first season at the helm in 2005.

Kueck just finished his seventh year on the Marshall staff, coaching the offense of the 1996, 15-0 National Championship team of the Herd in Marshall's final season in I-AA football. He re-joined former head coach Bob Pruett's staff in 2002 as quarterbacks coach.

The next season, Kueck was associate offensive coordinator and QB coach in 2003 and became offensive coordinator and coach of the quarterbacks in 2004. He was interim head coach of the Herd for spring football in 2005 when Pruett resigned just prior to practice beginning, then stayed with Snyder the past three seasons.

Kueck spent the years between Marshall stop one and two by working at Southern Miss, where the Golden Eagles won two conference titles and went to three bowls between 1997-99. He also returned to Texas to coach at C-USA member SMU from 2000-01, when the Mustangs were still in the Western Athletic Conference.

During his career, he has helped to develop four NFL quarterbacks, one running back and four receivers. That list includes Erik Kresser, Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich, Doug Chapman and Randy Moss, while Stan Hill had a stand-out season in the Arena League this year.

His 2007 quarterback, Bernard Morris, had a career-best season, throwing for over 3,000 yards, 17 touchdowns and becoming the first quarterback in Marshall history to rush for over 1,000 yards. He has been evaluated all season by NFL scouts and has been invited to the Hula Bowl in January of 2008.

Smith joined the Marshall staff in 2005, in Snyder's first season, after stops at Clemson (1999-2004), Tulane (1995-98 and 1985-90), Louisiana-Monroe (1993-94), LSU (1991-92), Louisiana-Lafayette (1979-84). Smith graduated and played linebacker at LSU, where he starred on two bowl teams including the 1973 Orange Bowl.

Smith coached the best defensive player in C-USA the past two seasons in Albert McClellan, who was lost to the Herd in August with a knee injury. Also lost this season was starter at defensive tackle Montel Glasco, while the line had numerous injuries throughout the season.

Smith was working with an outstanding group of young linemen this season, including red-shirt sophomore John Jacobs (who missed four games with a hand injury), red-shirt freshman Michael Janac and true freshmen Johnny Jones, Shane Moore and Vinny Curry, who was lost to academic concerns by the NCAA Clearing House after a great two weeks of practice in August. Curry is expected to rejoin the Herd for 2008.

This is the third season the Marshall staff has been shaken up. In 2005, Mike Cummings was hired to coach the offensive line by Pruett to replace Mark McHale, who went to Florida State, just before Pruett retired. Snyder was hired in April of 2005 as head coach and retained Kueck, Jim Collins, George Darlington, Shane Miles and Mark Gale on his staff from Pruett's staff, although Gale became the Director of Football Operations. Dwayne Nunez, Ernie Purnsley, Mike Jenkins and Bill Wilt were released, while Snyder's new hires included Smith, Shannon Morrison, Todd Goebbel, Jared Smith and Mike Cochran.

In 2006, Darlington left for another coaching job and Miles went into private business. Phil Ratliff (TE) and Paul Nichols (DB) were added to the staff. For 2007, Collins was released and Steve Dunlap was brought in to take his place as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Morrison moved from linebackers to safeties, while Nichols was moved to just cornerbacks, instead of coaching the entire secondary.

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