Coaching Search Cools For Taaffe

The West Virginia assistant coaching search has slowed within the last half day, as one name that surfaced appears to have cooled, despite published reports he was a surefire forthcoming hire.

Hamilton Tiger-Cat head coach Charlie Taaffe was reported as being the next West Virginia offensive coordinator by a West Virginia newspaper. But that appears to have hit a snag. Sources close to the WVU program, including sports information director Mike Montoro, said new head coach Bill Stewart has not yet hired an offensive coordinator. The Globe and Mail, based out of Canada, published an online story quoting Hamilton Tiger-cats President Scott Mitchell as saying the reports were "totally inaccurate. I talked to Charlie Taaffe this morning and he said that's not the case. More importantly, that can't be the case because if (West Virginia) has contacted him, that's tampering. I haven't talked to West Virginia or Charlie about permission to talk about that job. He has two years left and no outs in his contract."

Taaffe did hire Stewart to coach on his staff when Taaffe was with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes. It was unclear as to if Taaffe had been offered the job by West Virginia. He is known to be a leading candidate.

Sources familiar with the West Virginia program said that it was indeed likely that the Mountaineers and Stewart would hire John "Doc" Holliday, Steve Dunlap and Dave Lockwood as assistants. WVU is completing background checks on all three coaches, a standard procedure. Holliday, reported to be paid $2 million over five years by WVU via the Gainesville Sun, will be associate head coach and mentor tight ends and fullbacks. He will also be WVU's recruiting coordinator. Dunlap will serve as assistant head coach and oversee safeties. He was the defensive coordinator and coached linebackers and safeties for the Mountaineers under Don Nehlen. He was also a linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at Marshall last season, as well as an assistant on staffs at NC State and Syracuse. Lockwood will be the defensive backs coach. He coached the same position at Kentucky this season and has 19 years of experience, including time as the defensive coordinator at Minnesota.

That leaves three positions open: offensive coordinator, running backs coach and wide receivers coach. There is no timetable set for decisions and hirings. Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich were the holdovers from the former staff.

Note: Sources have also said that receiver Darius Reynaud will declare himself eligible for the upcoming NFL Draft. Tailback Steve Slaton continues to wait for his paperwork and draft status before making a decision. Defensive end Johnny Dingle will also declare himself eligible.

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