Sources: Wulff has found his o-line coach

IT'S NOT OFFICIAL, and final contract details still may need to be ironed out, but has learned from three sources that Paul Wulff has found his new offensive line coach.

Barring something unforeseen, Steve Morton -- a former Cougar player and assistant who has been coaching college ball for 35 years -- looks to be headed back to Ol' Wazzu.

Three independent sources -- two in Washington and one in California where Morton spent the last five seasons with Dick Tomey at San Jose State -- told CF.C under the condition of anonymity that Morton is coming to Pullman to replace Harold Etheridge.

Etheridge came to WSU from Northern Illnois two years ago. His contract was not renewed following a 2009 season in which Cougar linemen surrendered 53 sacks and the offense scored fewer points per game than any Cougar team in the last four decades.

Morton, a Chehalis native, played guard and center at WSU under Jim Sweeney in the early 70s and then became a graduate assistant under Sweeney in 1975. He came on as a full-time WSU assistant under Jim Walden, coaching tight ends (1978-81) and the o-line (1982-86). He followed Walden to Iowa State and later coached at Washington, USC, Nevada and Stanford.

He was at San Jose State for the last five seasons, pulling double-duty as offensive coordinator and o-line coach the past four seasons. Under his guidance, the Spartans made notable strides in total offense and points and produced their first all-league offensive linemen in years. With Tomey's recent retirement, Morton became available.

The list of hosses he's mentored over the years reads like a Who's Who. One of his pupils at WSU was none other than Paul Wulff.

Other Cougar notables Morton coached were Dan Lynch, an AP All-American and Morris Trophy winner, consensus All-American Mike Utley, and Pat Beach, who went on to play 11 seasons in the NFL.

Over his career Morton has coached five Pac-10 Morris Trophy winners, four first-team All-Americans, nine All-Pac-10 first-team offensive linemen, two NFL first-round draft choices -- Kwame Harris of Stanford and Lincoln Kennedy of Washington -- and numerous draft picks.

Morton and his wife, Karen, have two grown children who live in the Seattle area.

Another coach believed to be on Wulff's short list of coaches to replace Etheridge was former Washington, Cal and Idaho head man Keith Glibertson, whose son David is a walk on quarterback at WSU. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported yesterday that Gilbertson has been hired by his old friend Mike Holmgren to head up the Browns' player personnel department.

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