Chuck Landon: MU coaching staff a family affair
Now, there is one vacancy.
In an off-season filled with departures from Marshall's football coaching staff -- six of the nine position coaches have changed -- there is just one slot that still needs filled.
That's because Sean Cronin has joined the staff, according to sources.
He was a member of Marshall head coach Doc Holliday's first staff, coaching the defensive line in 2010. But after that one season, Cronin left to join Temple's new staff and coach the defensive line under new coordinator Chuck Heater.
Take note of that last relationship because it's a recurring theme.
Cronin is married to Heater's daughter, Emily, so naturally she played a role in the decision to leave Huntington since it meant rejoining her parents in Philadelphia.
It's still playing a role.
When former Temple coach Steve Addazio left to become Boston College's new head coach, he didn't take Heater or Cronin with him.
It meant they both were job-hunting.
That's when the dominos began falling in place. First, Heater was hired as Marshall's new defensive coordinator. Then, new cornerbacks coach Anthony Midget left after about 10 days to accept a lucrative offer from Penn State.
A coaching slot on the defensive side of the ball suddenly was open.
Since Holliday already was well-acquainted with Cronin, it was an easy decision to hire him again. So, not only has Cronin returned to Marshall, he also is reunited with his father-in-law, Heater, while his wife, Emily, is back in the same town with her parents.
OK, I know what everybody is wondering. Since Marshall already has a defensive line coach in J.C. Price, where is Cronin going to coach?
My guess is safeties.
And, no, having a veteran defensive line coach -- Cronin has coached the defensive line for the last four seasons at The Citadel, Marshall and Temple -- to mentor the safeties isn't nearly as far-fetched as it sounds.
Remember Fred Tate?
He's the popular former Marshall defensive line coach, who did an outstanding job at Texas Tech last season and, then, followed head coach Tommy Tuberville to the University of Cincinnati.
Well, guess what position Tate coached at Marshall in 2010 while Cronin was handling the defensive line?
The precedent has been established and I expect it to happen again.
Of course, that also creates another staff move because Marshall already has a safeties coach in Todd Hartley. Don't be surprised if Hartley switches to the offensive side of the ball, filling the Herd's vacancy at tight ends coach.
That would leave Marshall with only one staff slot to fill -- the very important wide receivers coach. Since Marshall lost Midget, it means the Herd needs to hire a minority to coach the wideouts.
The best news, however, is with the start of spring practice looming only 35 days away, Marshall is just one hire from having its reworked coaching staff complete.
n MONEY TALKS: In case anybody is curious about how big a raise former Marshall wide receivers coach Gerad Parker got from Purdue, the answer is he nearly doubled his salary.
Purdue released the base salaries of head coach Darrell Hazell's new assistants and Parker will earn $130,000 as the Boilermakers' tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator.
And that's the bottom line.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or email@example.com.