There has also been talk of Randy Shannon, the former Miami head coach who was the Hurricanes' ultra-successful defensive coordinator between 2001 and 2007. Shannon did not coach this season after being fired at Miami in November of 2010.
Also to be worked out is the fate of the lone defensive assistant remaining on the West Virginia staff. Safeties coach Steve Dunlap is the only remaining member of the staff with any historic ties whatsoever to the school. He played at WVU in the 1970s, coached here for more than two decades (including as the coordinator under Don Nehlen in the 1990s) and left only during the seven years Rodriguez was the head coach.
As for the departed coaches, it finally became official late Wednesday afternoon that the three had been hired by Rodriguez at Arizona - Casteel as the Wildcats' defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, Kirelawich as the defensive line coach and Lockwood as the cornerbacks coach. That completes a 10-man staff that, including Rodriguez, now numbers eight former WVU coaches. The others are Calvin Magee, Rod Smith, Tony Gibson and Tony Dews.
Casteel's departure had been speculated almost since the moment Arizona hired Rodriguez just before Thanksgiving. That speculation only grew when Rodriguez announced most of his offensive coaching hires within days, but continued to hold off on naming defensive coaches while waiting for WVU to conclude its season with the Jan. 4 Orange Bowl.
"I have enjoyed my time at West Virginia University and it's been 11 great years,'' Casteel said in a statement released by WVU Wednesday night. "I have coached some outstanding young men and I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication. I want to thank the coaches and staff members I have been associated with during my time at WVU for their work and support. The fans also have been great and I want to thank them as well.''
Casteel had a multi-year contract at West Virginia that was scheduled to pay him $450,000 in 2012 and $575,000 in 2013. Kirelawich and Lockwood each made $250,000 last season.
It's not clear how much they will make at Arizona, but there are no monetary issues remaining between the three and WVU, such as buyouts or the like. That was not the case a year ago when the offensive staff - and eventually head coach Bill Stewart - was fired and the school paid well over $3 million ($1.65 million to Stewart) to those who were fired not to coach.
WVU athletic director Oliver Luck also issued a statement Wednesday regarding the departure of the three.
"I want to thank our three departing defensive coaches for their more than 50 years of service to West Virginia University.'' Luck said. "They have been a part of much success and have left a lasting impact on our program and our student-athletes. Our football program will now move forward to fill our vacancies, and I am confident that Dana Holgorsen will bring in talented coaches that our players will continue to thrive under."
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.