Coaching hire: Levenseller offers perspective

WASHINGTON STATE'S SEARCH for Robin Pflugrad's replacement on the Cougar coaching staff has narrowed from an initial list of about 30 candidates, but neither the reduced number, their names nor a precise time line for a final selection was disclosed Monday by the man spearheading the search. Mike Levenseller, WSU's offensive coordinator, says there's a short list but it's not yet down to what he'd term finalists.

With spring workouts commencing in five weeks, Levenseller told, the goal is to expedite matters.

"We don't have a set timeline, but we do want to move as quickly as possible so (the new coach) can get to know the players and learn our system before spring ball starts," Levenseller said. "We could be done within the next couple weeks -- we want that ... but above all we need to make sure we find the right guy."

He took a pass when asked confirm or deny some of the names making the rounds as serious candidates.

Levenseller, who is serving as head coach Bill Doba's point man in the search, said the entire coaching staff will be involved in the interview process in one form or another.

Pflugrad, WSU's recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach since 2001, left a week ago to join the staff at Oregon. He and his wife are both Eugene natives and have elderly parents there -- a prime consideration for the move, Plfugrad said when he announced the change.

Pflugrad's son Aaron, like Levenseller's son J.T., is a multi-sport junior standout at Pullman High. While the Pflugrads are contemplating what Aaron will do his senior year, Levenseller joked that the PHS basketball coach has asked that the Cougars hire someone with a son who stands 6-10 and the Greyhounds' football coach is seeking another sure-handed receiver.

Levenseller said WSU's aim is to fill the recruiting coordinator's role, but the situation is fluid and a different course -- i.e. an existing staff member becoming the recruiting coordinator -- could be taken if that's the best way to leverage the talents of the incoming assistant. "The master plan going in," he said, is to hire a recruiting coordinator, "but we'll have to get into the interviews to say for sure."

Levenseller said in an article in the Seattle Times on Saturday that Pflugrad's work as tight ends coach isn't as pressing as the labor- intensive recruiting coordinator's post. The tight end chores could be reassigned, he said, noting that in the early 90s he coached tight ends in the passing game and line coach George Yarno directed them in the running game.

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