Coaching carousel carries many old Cougs

It's been a tough week or so for former Cougars and/or WSU assistant coaches, headlined by Jody Sears being let go as head coach at Weber State after two seasons. His staff included fellow one-time Cougar assistant coaches Steve Morton and Robin Pflugrad, as well as former WSU graduate assistants Jason Belford and Ryan Smaha.

Speaking of Plfugrad, his son Aaron Plfugrad, a Pullman High graduate who later played at both Oregon and Arizona State, is currently a graduate assistant at ASU, which plays today for the Pac-12 championship. The Sun Devils' defensive coordinator is former WSU defensive coordinator Chris Ball.

Another former WSU defensive coordinator, former Idaho head coach Robb Akey, spent part of his first full season out of coaching behind the mic. If you didn't catch him doing the color analysis on several games on Root Sports this season, you missed out. He was very good.

Meanwhile, farther north, Wyoming recently cleared the deck with the ouster of Dave Christensen as head coach, which means collateral damage in the form of Cougar quarterbacking legend Jason Gesser, who was the Cowboys' QB coach this season, and special teams coordinator Robin Ross, who was a standout lineman for the Cougs in the 1970s. Earlier this fall, Wyoming released former Cougar assistant coach Chris Tormey, who was the defensive coordinator in Laramie.

Elsewhere on the coaching carousel, former WSU linebacker Johnny Nansen will be following Steve Sarkisian from Washington to USC, and Chris Petersen's jump from Boise State to Washington holds intrigue for a pair of guys with Cougar connections ...

Bob Gregory, a former WSU linebacker, has been named interim head coach at BSU for their bowl game. The one-time Cal defensive coordinator has been Petersen's assistant head coach and linebackers coach for the past five seasons. Petersen's player personnel director at Boise State the last two seasons has been Rich Rasmussen, WSU's recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach under Paul Wulff. No word yet on whether he's following Petersen to Seattle, but given his Pac-10 experience and family roots in Tacoma it would seem a solid fit.

Another former Wulff assistant, offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy, could be in line for a promotion. Iowa State just fired its offensive coordinator and Sturdy, the Cyclones' receivers coach the last two seasons, is believed to be a contender for the job.

In the prep ranks, old Cougar running back/H-back Jeremey Thilebahr led his Eastside Catholic Crusaders into the state Class 3A title game for the second straight year last night -- and for the second-straight year lost decisively to national powerhouse Bellevue. Correction: One of Thielbahr's assistant coaches is former Cougar wide receiver Adam Kietzer, (1993-97).

Turning to the pros, tomorrow's Seahawks-49ers battle in the Bay Area also has Cougar coaching connections on both sides. Pat "Golden" Ruel, an assistant at WSU in the 1970s, is an offensive line assistant for the Seahawks while former WSU head coach Paul Wulff is a senior offensive coach for the 49ers.

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