Cougs hire special teams ace; what's next?

DAVE UNGERER, A former Oregon State, Alabama and California assistant, will be joining Paul Wulff's staff at Washington State, according to two reliable sources who spoke with CF.C in Seattle on Friday at the annual "Night with Cougar Football" dinner. Ungerer is considered a special teams guru, nicely filling that portion of departing Steve Broussard's job description.

Wulff's decision to hire someone who specializes in special teams would seem sound. Aside from outstanding punter Reid Forrest and long snapper Zach Enyeart, WSU's special teams have been mostly atrocious in all phases the last two seasons.

How Broussard's duties as running backs coach will be assigned remains to be seen, but it stands to reason that brand new offensive line coach Steve Morton -- a former offensive coordinator and running game coordinator at San Jose State -- will have a big hand in it.

The other hole left by Broussard's move to old mentor Dennis Erickson and Arizona State is in recruiting. He was WSU's point man in the Los Angeles Basin. Ungerer's resume doesn't suggest deep connections in the L.A. high school ranks so a reshuffling of territorial assignments on the WSU staff might be forthcoming.

Ungerer spent the past season at tiny Elon University, a liberal arts college in North Carolina, where he was reunited with Pete Lembo. The two were at Lehigh together when the Mountain Hawks went 23-2 from 2000-01.

"Dave has a reputation as one of the top college special teams coaches in the country," Lembo said when he hired Ungerer a year ago. "He is experienced and knowledgeable, but his greatest asset is his ability to relate to and motivate players to perform in this important phase of the game. Dave's combination of FBS experience and many years in highly successful FCS programs truly makes him a unique addition to our coaching staff."

Ungerer was the special teams coach at Oregon State from 2007-08. The Beavers had the top-performing kickoff coverage units in the Pac-10 both seasons, and produced a series of standout return men in Sammie Stroughter, James Rodgers and Gerard Lawson.

Ungerer came to Corvallis after four seasons as the special teams and tight ends coach at Alabama, where he served with current WSU assistant head coach Chris Ball. The Crimson Tide special teams excelled during his tenure, blocking 13 kicks and returning five punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns. Before that he spent one season as the special teams and tight ends coach at California. In his lone season there, Cal's kickoff return team ranked third in the nation and first in the Pac-10.

Ungerer also has coached at Maryland, Holy Cross, Davidson and Rutgers. He is a New Jersey native and a 1980 graduate of Southern Connecticut State University. He and his wife Sylvia have three sons.

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