Five West Virginia Assistants Headed to Michigan?

By · Friday, January 4, 2008 · 6:44 PM |  Share | 3 Comments 

There has been quite a bit of speculation all day in regards to where West Virginia’s assistants will end up, but things are now becoming official. ESPN’s Joe Schad is reporting that five WVU assistants will join Rich Rodriguez at Michigan, along with the strength and conditioning coordinator.

Five West Virginia assistant coaches, including assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Calvin McGee [sic], are headed to Michigan to follow former Mountaineers’ coach Rich Rodriguez, according to a person briefed on the decision.

The five are McGee [sic], offensive line coach Greg Frey, quarterbacks coach Rod Smith, safeties coach Bruce Tall and defensive backs coach Tony Gibson. Strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis is also headed to Michigan.

First things first, the offensive coordinator’s name is Calvin Magee, not McGee. The difference in pronunciation is very small, but I can already tell that this will be an annoyance of mine that I probably will see often.

Anyways, this is ESPN, so don’t take the story to be 100% true until Michigan or Coach Rod confirms that it is.

For Magee, Smith, and Frey, it has been confirmed by new-West Virginia coach Bill Stewart on ESPN Radio earlier today that they are going to Michigan. For Gibson, he has been with Coach Rod since he first came to Ann Arbor, so there’s no question that he’s on the new staff. The only two that have question marks about whether or not they’ll be at Michigan is Tall and Barwis.

I’m not really losing sleep over Tall, but Barwis is important. He is a great director of strength and conditioning and really would make a big impact at Michigan. I have absolutely no insight on whether or not he will end up at Michigan, but I don’t think the ESPN story is correct in regards to him, because earlier today it sounded like he was still unsure of what to do. (HT: MGoBlog)

Not mentioned in the ESPN article was WVU defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, who really impressed me with his 3-3-5 defense against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. I would like to see him come to Michigan as well, but if that doesn’t happen that hopefully Coach Rod would be able to hire Jon Tenuta if he doesn’t end up going to LSU.

As of right now, assuming Joe Schad’s report is true, here is the new staff:

Offensive Coordinator: Calvin Magee
Defensive Coordinator:

Quarterbacks Coach: Rod Smith
Running Backs Coach: Fred Jackson
Wide Receivers Coach:
Offensive Line Coach: Greg Frey
Defensive Line Coach:
Linebackers Coach:
Cornerbacks Coach: Tony Gibson
Safeties Coach: Bruce Tall

Director of Strength and Conditioning: Mike Barwis

With four openings still remaining, it could take a few more days before the entire staff is complete. I would expect that we will find out if Jeff Casteel is staying at West Virginia very soon, so the defensive coordinator position could resolve itself if he comes. At the same time, Casteel would coach linebackers as well, filling another void. If Casteel were to stay, then I’m not sure what the timetable would be to fill the DC and LBs coach spots, but I would expect it to take at least most of next week.

For wide receivers coach, it appears that Rich Rodriguez is waiting on a decision from current WVU WRs coach Tony Dews. If he comes, then obviously that spot is filled. If he stays, then I’m really hoping Erik Campbell gets rehired (was the Michigan WRs coach under Lloyd Carr). Michigan has had a ton of great WRs with Campbell coaching that position, and the Capital One Bowl just proved that even more.

The other opening, defensive line coach, really only has one name floating out there right now: Steve Stripling. He was on the Michigan staff the last few seasons and is a good coach, so it would be nice to see him return as well.

I imagine we’ll have answers to all of these questions about whether or not the ESPN report is credible and who is staying at WVU or coming to U-M in the next 24 hours, so stay tuned.


  1. Big Blue says:

    What defense does Jon Tenuta run? I don’t think GT ran a 3-3-5. I bet he waits for a position where he can run the defense he had at GT.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do you think we really have a shot at getting Tenuta?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I bet Jon Tenuta goes to LSU to be with Les Miles. (He will fill Bo Pelini’s spot with Bo going to Nebraska.) Had UM waited for Les Miles, I think they would have had a much better shot with Tenuta, in my opinion. Either way, Rod should find a qualified DC.

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