Mountaineers officially add three coaches

As widely expected, West Virginia has officially added three coaches to its offensive staff for 2011: offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh, running game coordinator Robert Gillespie and inside receivers coach Shannon Dawson.

Bedenbaugh played at Iowa Wesleyan with new offensive coordinator/head-coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen, and they spent six years together on Mike Leach’s Texas Tech staff. He was the offensive line coach and running game coordinator at Arizona the past four years.

“West Virginia has a lot of history and tradition, has won championships, and I believe will continue to win championships and do even greater things into the future, and I want to be part of it,” Bedenbaugh said in a statement. “Coach Bill Stewart is a great leader, and Dana is a great offensive mind, who I have known for 20 years; I trust them and want to be part of the Mountaineer staff. Leaving the players and coaching staff at Arizona was one of the toughest things I have ever done but coming here to West Virginia is what I want to do.”

Bedenbaugh will be tasked with improving an offensive line that struggled at times the past two years under Dave Johnson. His understanding of what Holgorsen wants to do will greatly help as the Mountaineers implement the spread.

Gillespie spent the past two years as the running backs coach at Oklahoma State, where he worked with Holgorsen this past season. He also assisted on special teams, handled the breakdown of the opponents’ blitz packages and oversaw the Cowboys' run game preparation. In 2010, Oklahoma State back Kendall Hunter ran for 1,548 yards and scored 16 touchdowns and was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award. He'll get to work with a stable of backs that includes Shawne Alston, Ryan Clarke and possibly Tavon Austin at West Virginia.

Dawson also has ties to Holgorsen. He was a quarterback at Wingate in 1999 when Holgorsen was the quarterbacks and receivers coach. He was the offensive coordinator at Stephen F. Austin the past three seasons. The Lumberjacks made the FCS playoffs the last two years and had the subdivision's top-rated passing offense.

“Working at West Virginia University is a great opportunity for me,” Dawson said. “Morgantown is a beautiful place. Being able to work in a BCS conference and with coach Bill Stewart and Coach Holgorsen really excites me and presents a great situation. I have known Coach Holgorsen for a long time, and we’ve always talked about working together and this is the first time that the opportunity has presented itself. I can’t wait to get started.”