Coaching search takes some twists

DeWAYNE WALKER, the UCLA defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach whose name had been floated weeks ago by speculating Coug fans, appears in fact to be a prospect of interest to Washington State's coaching search committee. And so is a head coach from the Mid-America Conference, Ball State's Brady Hoke, whose name is largely unfamiliar to the crimson faithful.

According to Brian Dohn of the L.A. Daily News, Walker hasn't been contacted directly by WSU but a representative for him has. Dohn, in a blog entry Saturday evening following UCLA's loss to USC, didn't say if Walker would be interested.

Walker, who turns 47 tomorrow, is in his second season at UCLA after spending four years in the NFL with the Redskins and Giants. Prior to that he was associate head coach and secondary coach at USC under Pete Carroll. He was Carroll's first hire at USC, coming to the Trojans from the New England Patriots where he worked for two seasons with Carroll and one with Bill Belichick. He also has coached at Cal, Oklahoma State, BYU and Utah State.

Walker is known as an oustanding recruiter and his defensive teams play aggressively. He transformed UCLA's D almost overnight when he arrived last season.

Walker was a starting corneback at Minnesota for two seasons and Pasadena City College before that. He played professionally in the CFL and USFL for three years.

HOKE JUST COMPLETED his fifth season at Ball State, guiding the Cardinals to a 7-5 record and an invitation to play Rutgers in the International Bowl. This was Hoke's first winning season. He was 5-7 last season, 4-7 in 2005, 2-9 in 2004 and 4-8 in 2003.

He was identified as a WSU candidate Saturday by the Spokesman-Review, which cited unnamed WSU sources as saying there were seven leading contenders so far. Besides Hoke, the S-R listed Mike Price, John L. Smith, EWU coach Paul Wulff, Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christiansen, Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory and long-time NFL assistant Ray Sherman.

Hoke is no stranger to Washington State. He was an assistant coach at Oregon State from 1989-94 and his eight seasons with Lloyd Carr at Michigan included the controversial 1998 Rose Bowl game with the Cougars. Hoke coached the defensive line at Michigan and was elevated to associate head coach the year before he took the head job at Ball State.

Hoke is also a graduate of and one-time team captain at Ball State, which also happens to be Bill Doba's alma mater.

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