Marshall head coach Doc Holliday has already had a busy off-season, and the work is just beginning. Holliday, whose third season as head coach of the Thundering Herd ended with a very disappointing 5-7 record, will enter next season with at least six new staff members.
On Wednesday, offensive line coach Geep Wade left for a similar position at Middle Tennessee State. This comes a day after strength and conditioning coach Joe Miday accepted a position at Western Kentucky, leaving Holliday to search for the Herd’s fifth strength coach in four years.
Quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Tony Peterson started the musical chairs on Jan. 8 when he left to become Skip Holtz’s offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech. Peterson was an especially difficult loss not only because he was a record-setting quarterback at Marshall, but because his guidance helped sophomore quarterback Rakeem Cato explode on the scene and earn Conference USA MVP honors.
It appears that co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Bill Legg will move over to coach quarterbacks. Legg designed the Herd offense and has been the primary gameday play-caller.
Legg’s move to quarterbacks coach creates a vacancy at tight ends. Additionally, rumors abound that either running backs coach / recruiting coordinator JaJuan Seider and wide receivers coach Gerad Parker or both could be leaving.
On defense, Chuck Heater was brought in from Temple to replace defensive coordinator Chris Rippon, who was allowed to resign. Heater will be tasked with fixing a Marshall defense that ranked 119th out of 120 FBS teams in scoring defense (allowing 43.08 points allowed in 12 games), 101st in total defense (456.58 yards allowed per game), and 105th in rushing defense (203.08 yards allowed per game).
Last week, cornerbacks coach Lytrel Pollard was named to Todd Monken’s staff at Southern Miss. Heater will serve as the Herd’s cornerbacks coach.
There’s also a vacancy to fill at linebackers coach, and sources indicate that West Virginia assistant Steve Dunlap is the leading candidate. Holliday and Dunlap coached together at West Virginia from 1992-99 and again in 2008-09. Dunlap coached at Marshall in 2007.
Holliday enters the all-important fourth season as the Herd’s head coach with a 17-20 record. The next few months will no doubt be busy ones.