Assistant coaching search update - 12/29

Trying to piece together Tyrone Willingham's new football staff at Washington has been an exercise in patience. You have to be part Agatha Christie, part Magnum P.I. and part Matt Drudge to cull together all the rumors, innuendo and 'fact' into a coherent picture. That being said, this is what we've been able to put together so far. There might be as many as five coaches already in place, maybe more.

A source has confirmed to that Mike Denbrock, who coached tackles and tight ends for Notre Dame under Tyrone Willingham, has accepted a similar role with Willingham's new staff at Washington. This comes after the news that Kent Baer, Notre Dame's interim head coach and defensive coordinator under Willingham is expected to head to Seattle to lead the Huskies' defense.

This source also confirmed early Tuesday morning that only three current ND coaches - Baer, Denbrock and defensive backs coach Steven Wilks - were contacted about job openings at Washington, and while it's not known at this time whether or not Wilks will go to Washington, it's expected that new ND head coach Charlie Weis will clean house and not retain anybody on the current staff. Don't be surprised to see Wilks also join his former boss Willingham in Seattle. This rumor was also confirmed during Tuesday night's bowl game between Notre Dame and Oregon State.

Willingham has reportedly told Denbrock to be available to start work January 3rd. The first official weekend of the new year that colleges can host prospective student-athletes is the weekend of January 7th.

Baer, Denbrock and Wilks join a staff that already includes former UW holdovers Randy Hart and Chris Tormey. There has been no official word from the University of Washington, but recruits visiting Willingham during a North Carolina State-Washington basketball game confirmed that both Hart and Tormey were present during their visits and let the recruits know that they were staying on staff. Hart has been Washington's defensive line coach since 1988, while Tormey is on his second stint as Huskies' linebackers coach.

Another source told Tuesday night that it appears a sixth coach may have been recently added to the staff, but nothing was known about this coach except that he is coming from a program in the Bay Area - meaning it could be either California, Stanford, San Jose State, Oakland Raiders or the San Francisco 49'ers.

The obvious coach that stands out here for his ties to Washington is current Stanford LB coach Tom Williams, but this source said that it's apparently not Williams. We also confirmed that Williams has not been in contact with Willingham in over a week. Another coach with UW ties is current Cal DB coach J.D. Williams, who is the brother of the late Curtis Williams, who played at Washington. Another Bay Area coach with experience at Washington is current 49'ers tight ends coach Dan Cozzetto.

Oakland Offensive Coordinator Jimmy Raye has ties to Michigan State, Willingham's alma mater. Top Stories