After three years under the leadership of Chris Rippon, Marshall's defense will be under new management next season. While it might be cruel to speculate on Rippon’s replacement immediately following his resignation, here are a few names Thundering Herd head coach Doc Holliday could consider for his next defensive coordinator.
1) Steve Dunlap
Steve Dunlap’s name has been mentioned often in regards to Marshall’s vacancy at defensive coordinator. The veteran assistant worked with Holliday at WVU and NC State, not to mention his one year stop as the Herd’s defensive coordinator in 2007. Since 2007, Dunlap has been a assistant with the Mountaineers, coaching linebackers, safeties, and special teams. During Dunlap’s one year as Marshall’s defensive coordinator, the Herd finished 107th in total defense, giving up 450.83 yards per game.
2) Tommy Restivo
A former Marshall graduate assistant, Tommy Restivo is a first year defensive backs coach at Louisville. Prior to this season, Restivo spent three years (2009-2011) as the Cardinal’s defensive quality control assistant. Although Restivo and Holliday have never served on the same staff, Louisville head coach Charlie Strong binds the two together. Strong and Holliday served on Urban Myers staff at Florida, helping the Gators win the 2006 National Championship.
3) David Lockwood
After a extended stint as WVU’s cornerbacks coach (2008-2011), David Lockwood was hired by Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez for the same position prior to this season. Lockwood has a long history as a defensive assistant, also working at Memphis, Wyoming, Notre Dame, Minnesota, and Kentucky in a variety of capacities. A WVU graduate, Lockwood played defensive back for the Mountaineers from 1984-1988 when Holliday was the wide receivers coach on Don Nehlen’s staff.
4) Bill Kirelawich
Another Arizona assistant, Bill Kirelawich has 43 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level. Kirelawich and Holliday coached together at WVU from 1979 to 1999 under a variety of roles. Currently, Kirelawich leads the Wildcats defensive line.
5) Rick Minter
A veteran defensive mind, Rick Minter should be a familiar name to Herd fans. Minter served as Marshall's defensive coordinator in 2008 to 2009 and interim head coach after Mark Snyder's dismissal. For the past two years Minter has been the defensive coordinator at the University of Kentucky. Unfortunately for Minter, Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips and his entire staff were let go following Saturday's game against Tennessee.
6) Bob Pruett
As Marshall's head coach from 1996 to 2004, Bob Pruett compiled a record of 94-23 including two undefeated seasons, a 1-AA National Championship, five Mid-American Conference championships, and five bowl victories. After stepping down following the 2004 season, Pruett did not coach again until 2008, when long time friend and then University of Virginia head coach Al Groh hired him as defensive coordinator. The job only lasted one year as Pruett retired following the 2008 season.