Another Departure

Posted Mar 2, 2013

Robert Gillespie's departure for Tennessee just eight days before the start of spring practice leaves West Virginia with just one assistant coach that has been on the staff for more than one season.

Gillespie, who accepted the running backs coaching job with the Volunteers on Friday, is the fifth coach to depart or be released since the end of the regular season. His departure makes Shannon Dawson the only assistant with more than one year at West Virginia, and his experience, along with that of head coach Dana Holgorsen, extends for just two seasons at the school.

The rash of departures has raised questions among some observers of the program, especially given the fact that the last two, those of offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and that of Gillespie, have been lateral moves in terms of duties. While Bedenbaugh's departure was for a program with a higher national profile than that of West Virginia, Tennessee has been moribund in recent years, and clearly bypassed by many schools in terms of achievement.

Late Friday night, Gillespie tweeted the following:

"The Gillespie Family had a blast at #WVU and you guys will always hold a place in our hearts. We'll always root for The Mountaineers!"

The hiring process at Tennessee was a quick one, as Gillespie interviewed and then accepted the job just three days after Jay Graham left the team for a job with Florida State.

Gillespie does have some SEC ties, having played at Florida and coached at South Carolina.

WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen will presumably move quickly to fill the spot, given approaching spring drills and the need to strengthen West Virginia's recruiting presence in Florida, where Gillespie did much of his work.

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