Who is Kevin Sumlin?

THE STORY IS not without irony. The long reach of Bill Doba may just turn out to play a crucial role in the search for the head coach who will replace him at Washington State. Among the few known to have interviewed for the Washington State post is Kevin Sumlin, the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. And Sumlin's ties to Doba are compelling -- stretching all the way back to Sumlin's playing days.

A former walk-on linebacker, Kevin Sumlin (1983-86) wrapped up his collegiate playing career at Purdue among the school's all-time top 10 in tackles.

Want to guess who the linebacker's position coach was all four of his years with the Boilermakers?

Bill Doba.

Twenty-one years later, Doba is serving in an advisory capacity in the head coaching search at WSU and Sumlin has interviewed with A.D. Jim Sterk for the job.

After his collegiate playing days, Sumlin's first coaching position was as a graduate assistant under Doba and Price, serving in the role at Washington State from 1988-90.

When an assistant coaching job opened up in Laramie, Sumlin followed Joe Tiller to Wyoming. Although a 'backer by trade, Sumlin coached receivers for the Cowboys and has been holding the clipboard on the offensive side of the ball ever since.

He coached receivers in Minnesota from 1993-96 before moving to quarterbacks in '97. Reuniting with Tiller, this time at Purdue, Sumlin again coached receivers from 1998-2001 before moving on to Texas A&M. At College Station, he ascended to the offensive coordinator position in '02 before heading to Oklahoma.

Sumlin has been holding the clipboard in Norman since the 2003 season, first coaching tight ends and serving as special teams coordinator before serving as Bob Stoops' co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach for the Sooners the past two years.

Oklahoma is known as a rushing school but the offensive rankings (national) were nearly the same through the air (No. 37) as on the ground (No.30) this past season. Oklahoma racked up 3,373 receiving yards and 37 touchdowns in '07. Sumlin's receiving corps accounted for 19 of those scores, exceeding the total from '06 when his group had 17 touchdown grabs.

Among the notable individual performances for Sumlin's receivers at Oklahoma, Malcolm Kelly in '06 recorded one of the top seasons in school history under Sumlin, topping the 1,000 career receiving yard mark faster than any player in program history.

His work as the tight ends coach from 2003-05 is also noteworthy in that it began to re-establish the TEs back into the Sooner offense. This past season, tight end Jermaine Gresham pulled in 11 TDs for Oklahoma.

In addition to the interview with Washington State, Sumlin has also been reported as having interviewed for the head coaching position at Houston, and for the offensive coordinator job at Texas. Sumlin was offered the offensive coordinator position at Miami last January, but elected to stay with Bob Stoops in Norman.

Sumlin does, however, have Stoops' endorsement to helm his own program and one reason why is Sumlin's football background -- one that began with Doba.

"He'd be an excellent head coach," Stoops recently told The Norman Transcript. "He's got a great background and he relates well with players. He's a very bright, sharp guy."

He's also got a network that includes Bill Doba. If Sumlin becomes the next head coach at Washington State, it assuredly will be in no small part due to the ties he has forged with the man he's replacing.

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