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Chuck Landon: Another coach leaves

MU football
Jan. 17, 2013 @ 12:27 AM

At first, I just figured these chilly winds were from the cold front meteorologist Spencer Adkins predicted.

Guess again.

Instead, it turns out these cold gusts are coming from the revolving door in the Shewey Building.

Yes, folks, it is spinning that fast.

For the second time in three days, another staff member left Marshall's football program on Wednesday. This time it was offensive line coach Geep Wade, who has accepted the same position at Middle Tennessee State.

That's right, MTSU.

And that increases the number of departures to five. Here's the list in chronological order:

Chris Rippon: After three years as defensive coordinator, he was given the opportunity to resign after Marshall's 65-59 double overtime loss at East Carolina on Nov. 23. Rippon resigned the next day.

Tony Petersen: The one-time Marshall star quarterback wore the hats of co-offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach. But on Jan. 7, Petersen resigned to accept the offensive coordinator position at Louisiana Tech.

Lytrel Pollard: After only one year on Marshall's staff, the cornerbacks coach resigned on Jan. 11 to accept the same position at Southern Miss.

Joe Miday: After six years of rising through the ranks to become Marshall's strength and conditioning head coach, Miday resigned Monday to accept the same position at Western Kentucky.

Geep Wade: Another one and done for Marshall. After just one season as the Herd's offensive line coach, Wade resigned on Wednesday to fill the same role at Middle Tennessee State.

Phew.

That's a lot of attrition in a short time span. Or, so I thought. But, then, I learned from Marshall sources that the football program actually has lost eight staff members, not five.

The additional three are associate head athletic trainer Toby Harkins, who left to become the head trainer at Illinois; director of high school relations Alex Schnitzer, who took a staff position at UT-Chattanooga; and assistant strength coach Scott Wilks, a former Herd player who apparently plans to join Miday on Western Kentucky's strength staff.

Any way optimists want to spin it, that's a lot of staff members to lose in one off-season.

That's true even for a so-called stepping-stone program such as Marshall where attrition has to be expected. If good hires are being made, those people are going to move up the collegiate ladder.

It's supposed to work that way.

The problem is most of the eight staffers who are leaving Marshall are making lateral moves. ... at best. Yet, there are good reasons for each and every departure.

Petersen, who reportedly received a modest raise, gets to call the Bulldogs' plays. Pollard is returning to his alma mater. Miday and Wilks are hitching their wagons to Western Kentucky's new star, Bobby Petrino. Wade and his wife are returning to their native Tennessee. And Schnitzer is returning to his alma mater.

Those are all good reasons.

But the fact remains leaving Marshall for jobs at Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State and UT-Chattanooga are indeed lateral moves.

Besides, whether they are justifiable reasons or not, it certainly doesn't help Marshall's cause. Heading into a crucial 2013 season, Marshall needed to maintain as much staff stability as possible.

Eight departed staffers later, that stability has turned into instability.

That's alarming anyway you look at it.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or clandon@herald- dispatch.com.

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