Revamped And Ready

West Virginia has its positions set and prospects in its sights.

The new staff has been assigned their recruiting regions and ties, and even with a few tweaks, the list is essentially what one would expect. With head coach Bill Stewart off the road because of his promotion, new running backs and slot wideouts coach Chris Beatty will recruit the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. areas. Beatty, a longtime Virginia resident, coached at Landstown High in Virginia Beach, as well as two other scholastic stops.

"Everybody there knows coach Stew, but I know most of those same people so I don't know how much that changes things," Beatty said. "It is good that they know coach Stew because they know they are sending their guy to a good guy. I think you sell winning, the offense, the household names. If you've got Pat Whites and Steve Slatons and Owen Schmitts, you better sell those guys while people still know who they are.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jeff Mullen, an Ohio native, will recruit the northern portions of the state. A former Ohio University and Wake Forest assistant, Mullen spent seven years recruiting the Buckeye state before moving with former Bobcats and current Deamon Deacons head coach Jim Grobe to Wake Forest.

"I spent seven seasons at Ohio University recruiting northeast Ohio and looking back there were a lot of coaches I worked with there," said Mullen, who is promising to further implement the passing game in the Mountaineers' spread offense. "I'll also dip down into Atlanta a bit. The last few seasons at Wake Forest, I have spent doing that. I have a lot of contacts there that I can help (wide receivers coach) Lonnie Galloway with."

Galloway, who spent three seasons at Appalachian State in Boone, N.C., will recruit Atlanta and the northern parts of Florida with an emphasis on Jacksonville. The southern portions of the Florida will be under the thumb of associate head coach, director of recruiting and fullbacks and tight ends coach Doc Holliday. Galloway noted that Holliday's expertise in the state and overall would be an asset, as would the former Western Carolina quarterback's ties in Atlanta.

"The biggest thing to recruiting here is that you don't have 30 or 40 kids in West Virginia that are going all over the place like Ohio and Pennsylvania and Miami and Atlanta," Galloway said. "The ones that can play here, those are the ones you have to get to come to school here. It's not the state's fault the abundance of players are not here like other places. But I have recruited in Atlanta the past five years, so I feel like I can do down there and talk to them."

West Virginia will also delve back into an area it has partially abandoned in recent seasons with the return of former WVU defensive back and assistant coach Dave Lockwood. Lockwood will recruit New Jersey.

It is tough because, for me, everybody is in New Jersey," he said. But for us to be of national prominence, it helps. Kids anymore go anywhere. They don't just go to Ohio State's and Michigan's and things like that. They want a team and program that are winning, so when you win those type games it is a big help."

Offensive line coach Dave Johnson, a former WVU player and assistant at Georgia and Marshall, among others, will handle the key area of western Pennsylvania. Johnson will have to make inroads in the area to reestablish West Virginia against its archrival following a devastating loss and the continuing recruiting excellence of Pitt.

Other coaches who decided to stay or are returning – Bill Kirelawich, Jeff Casteel and Steve Dunlap – will remain in or return to traditional areas. Kirelawich will handle his native area of eastern Pennsylvania with Casteel recruiting in various locales, including an emphasis on junior colleges. Dunlap will take southern Ohio, an area in which he worked while with Marshall. The staff will divide West Virginia by schools so that each assistant can gain familiarity with individual prep staffs.

"I told (the administration) that I could continue what we are doing if I could assemble the best staff in the nation," Stewart said. "I asked Eddie (Pastilong) who big his checkbook was, and he and Mike Garrison (WVU's President) told me to go get ‘em. And that's what we have done. This is the best staff with the best recruiter in the nation."

Which, thus far, as turned in one class ranked in the top 40 when many fans were simply hoping for a top 50 finish. And West Virginia still has a handful of potential signees that could further elevate the rankings. Much of it is because if Stewart.

"You know, you can be a players coach and be a disciplinarian at the same time," Kirelawich said of Stewart. "He did something not only could I not have done, but I didn't think anybody could have done. He rallied a team, he calmed them down, and they needed calming after that bombshell they took, and he built them back up. I didn't think it was possible."


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