WVU Football Staff Candidates — Part II
Yesterday we looked as Neal Brown’s football coaching staff at Troy with an eye toward identifying some potential candidates for his cadre as he moves to West Virginia. Today, we pick up with a list of others, including those on WVU’s staff of 2018 as well as some from outside the program.
From the current WVU staff
Tony Gibson – Having spent 13 seasons at WVU in two different stints (2011-07 & 2013-18), Gibson is most tenured of any current Mountaineer assistant coach. He’s spent the past five years as West Virginia’s defensive coordinator and also works directly with the linebackers. The Van, W.Va., native is currently under a contract with WVU that guarantees him $950,000 in 2019 even if Brown decides not to retain him on the coaching staff.
Doug Belk – WVU’s cornerback coach has only spent two seasons with the Mountaineers, but already is considered a huge asset, especially for his recruiting prowess in his home state of Georgia. Belk was said to be following Holgorsen to Houston, but recent reports say the Valdosta, Ga., native has not decided yet what his future will hold.
Marquel Blackwell – In his first season at WVU, Blackwell has developed a strong reputation both for his coaching of West Virginia’s running backs and his recruiting, especially around his hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla. If Blackwell isn’t retained by Brown, he’ll likely have plenty of options, whether it is with Holgorsen in Houston or elsewhere.
Matt Caponi – The Pittsburgh native has coached WVU’s safeties the past three season and prior to that coached the same position at Arizona from 2013-15. His status with Brown is unknown at the moment.
Tyron Carrier – Carrier has developed a nice reputation in his three seasons as WVU’s receiver coach, including being named the 2018 FootballScoop Wide Receiver Coach of the Year. But a native of Houston and 2011 graduate of the University of Houston, the opportunity to return home and coach at his alma mater with Holgorsen seems to be a definite for Carrier.
Dan Gerberry – The Youngstown native spent the 2017 season as WVU’s senior football analyst and then was elevated to the Mountaineers’ tight ends/fullback coach this past year when the NCAA allowed FBS coaching staffs to expand to 10 assistants. A 2009 Ball State alum, Gerberry’s work with tight end Trevon Wesco was impressive this past season, but his status with Brown is unknown at the moment.
Mark Scott – The Defiance, Ohio, native spent three seasons as a G.A. at WVU (2012-14) and then in 2015 was promoted to a full-time assistant coach. He has spent the past four years working with the Mountaineers’ special teams and linebackers. His status with Brown is unknown at the moment.
Bruce Tall – A native of the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, Tall has spent nine seasons on West Virginia staff in two stints. He worked with WVU’s safeties from 2003-07 and then its defensive line from 2015-18. He’s also had stops at Northeastern (1993-97), Harvard (1998-01), Western Michigan (2002), Michigan (2008-10) and Charlotte (2011-14). His status with Brown is unknown at the moment.
Joe Wickline – The St. Petersburg, Fla., has spent the past three years working with WVU’s offensive line, and prior to that he mentored that unit at Baylor (1997-98), Middle Tennessee State (1999-01), Florida (2002-04), Oklahoma State (2005-13) and Texas (2014-15). He previously had worked with Holgorsen at Oklahoma State (2010) and the assumption was he would get a chance to follow Dana to Houston. But at the moment, Wickline still seems to be in limbo. His status with Brown is unknown.
Mike Joseph – The Fairmont native came to WVU from Notre Dame in 2008 and has been in charge of the Mountaineers’ strength and conditioning program ever since. While he works directly with the West Virginia football program, he carries the title of assistant director of athletics and oversees all the strength and conditioning programs at WVU. His status with Brown is unknown, but it’s hard to imagine he won’t have a future position somewhere in WVU’s athletic department.
Alex Hammond – Having spent eight years on Holgorsen’s staff as the director of football operations, including the past four as associate athletic director, the Indianapolis native is apparently leaving WVU. A 2008 law school graduate from Northwestern, Hammond is reportedly going to join the staff at Athlete’s First, which is an agency that represents players and coaches. Holgorsen’s agent, Trace Armstrong, is vice president of the company.
Ryan Dorchester – A native of Cortland, Ohio who hold bachelor’s (2008) and a master’s (2010) degrees from WVU, Dorchester started working with the Mountaineer football program as a manager in 2004 and has been part of the program ever since. The past five years he’s served as West Virginia’s director of player personnel overseeing the Mountaineers’ recruiting effort. Dorchster is likely to follow Holgorsen to Houston, and could elevate to an even higher position on the staff.
Chad Scott (Louisville running backs coach) – Scott took the job at Louisville less than a week ago, but now may be on the move again with a promotion. West Virginia is looking at him as a potential co-offensive coordinator, along with Troy assistant Matt Moore. Scott spent the previous three seasons at North Carolina as tight ends coach, but was let go when Larry Fedora was fired after the 2018 season. Prior to that, he was at Kentucky for three seasons. Those coaching stints mirror his playing career, which began at Kentucky in 2oo1, then ended at North Carolina in 2004 after a transfer.
Kirk Ciarrocca (Minnesota offensive coordinator/quarterback coach) – A Lewisberry, Pa., native and former Juniata College defensive back, Ciarrocca earned his bachelor’s degree from Temple in 1990. Ciarrocca also started his coaching career with the Owls as a graduate assistant. He then moved through a series of small colleges before becoming the quarterback coach and offensive coordinator at Delaware from 2002-07. In the midst of that run, he met Neal Brown, who was the Blue Hens’ receiver coach in 2005. They went their separate ways after that, with Ciarrocca serving as quarterback coach at Rutgers (2008-10), Richmond (2011), Delaware again (2012 as running back coach), Western Michigan (2013-17) and then Minnesota this past season. The Golden Gophers were 7-6 this past season and averaged 28.9 points per game, which was the eighth best mark in the 14-team Big Ten.
John Schlarman (Kentucky offensive line coach) – The 43-year-old from Fort Thomas, Ky., is in his sixth season coaching the offensive line at UK, which is his alma mater. But prior to that, he was the offensive line coach at Troy when Brown was the Trojans’ offensive coordinator and the two also worked together when Brown was the Wildcats’ OC from 2013-14. Getting Schlarman away from Kentucky could be tough. Schlarman also has more important things to worry about at the moment, as he was found to have cancer this past summer and spent this fall undergoing chemo treatment, though continuing to coach during that time.
Jon Sumrall (Ole Miss linebacker coach) – The 36-year-old native of Huntsville, Ala., recently finished up his first season as the linebacker coach at Mississippi. Prior to joining Matt Luke’s staff in Oxford last January, Sumrall spent three seasons as a linebacker coach and special teams coordinator at Troy under Brown. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, where he was a three-year starter at linebacker (2002-04), Sumrall also has had coaching stops at the University of San Diego (2007-11) and Tulane (2012-14), and as a G.A. at UK (2005-06).
Jeff Casteel (Nevada, defensive coordinator) – Casteel, who recently completed his second season as the defensive coordinator at Nevada, spent 11 seasons on West Virginia’s staff (2001-11), the last 10 of which he was the Mountaineers’ defensive coordinator. He also coached at Shepherd (1988-99), UTEP (2000) and Arizona (2012-15). While a highly respected member of Jay Norvell’s Wolfpack staff now, Casteel, a 56-year-old native of Paden City, W.Va., could possibly entertain an offer to return home.