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WVU football: Former Mountaineer player Cogdell added to staff

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia football started the spring semester Wednesday by saying goodbye to some parts of the program and hello to others.

Defensive line coach Erik Slaughter's contract was not renewed after two seasons of his first Football Bowl Subdivision job while former WVU linebacker and Miramar (Fla.) High School football coach and athletic director Damon Cogdell was hired as an assistant defensive coach.

"It's exciting to welcome back a former Mountaineer to Morgantown," Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "Damon Cogdell has been successful at every stage of his career from player to coach and has built one of the best high school football programs in the state of Florida. Now, as he takes his next coaching step to major college football, it's certainly appropriate that he starts at his alma mater.

"He brings a wealth of experience in developing and coaching student-athletes, and his knowledge will be a great asset to our program. He also knows what it means to be a Mountaineer and what this program means to our state, and I am excited to add him to our staff."

Running back Andrew Buie, who as a junior last season first expressed a desire to redshirt and then left school altogether, is back with the team. Buie led the team in rushing as a sophomore in 2012. A team source told the Charleston Daily Mail receiver Ronald Carswell and cornerback Avery Williams will not be back for the 2014 season. Neither was on a roster WVU updated Wednesday afternoon.

Carswell was a starter before he was suspended for something he did on the team's road trip to TCU. The junior college transfer, who started his career at Alabama, was second on the team with 413 receiving yards and fourth with 20 receptions when he was punished.

Williams, who missed the 2012 season after neck surgery, played in 11 games in two seasons and totaled six tackles.

Receiver Ricky Rodgers and linebacker Davonte James, both early high school graduates, are enrolled and can participate in spring practice. Three junior college transfers who signed letters of intent last month also enrolled Wednesday: quarterback Skyler Howard, cornerback Keishawn Richardson and offensive lineman Sylvester Townes.

A fourth junior college signee, linebacker Edward Muldrow III, has until Friday to enroll, as is expected, so he can be a part of spring practice.

Cogdell is the ninth assistant coach - equal to an entire staff - Holgorsen has hired since winning the Orange Bowl early in 2012. Slaughter, one of those nine, was the only assistant coach who had the same job in 2013 that he had in 2012. He's now the first of those nine assistants Holgorsen has replaced.

Slaughter was in charge of recruiting southern Ohio. A source said that's likely to go to offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson.

Cogdell played with the Mountaineers in 1997-98 and made 107 tackles, though his career was affected by a broken hip that abbreviated his first season. He graduated in 1999 with a degree in sports management and a year later won a Grey Cup with the British Colombia Lions as part of a two-year career in the Canadian Football League. He's since earned a physical education teaching certificate.

He was an assistant coach at Miramar from 2002-06 before taking over as head coach in 2007. He won the 2009 state championship, won at least one playoff game each of his seven seasons and finished with a record of 72-19. More than 50 former players went to play in the NFL, including former WVU stars Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey.

Cogdell is expected to join another former WVU player on the staff, running backs coach JaJuan Seider, who was hired last year, to recruit South Florida. Khalil Lewis, a junior receiver at Miramar, announced Wednesday he's committed to WVU's 2015 recruiting class.

Cogdell did not return a message left Wednesday morning, but said in a school press release that returning to WVU was "like a breath of fresh air. Being here on the coaching staff is a dream come true. I had a great experience as a student-athlete, then I was able to go to Miami and build a highly competitive football program and won a bunch of games, was able to send eight players to play for the Mountaineers and now come full circle."

Cogdell will work on a two-year contract for $200,000, according to WVU. The school did not state what position he'll coach, which leaves open the possibility Holgorsen and defensive coordinator Keith Patterson could reorganize the staff or that Holgorsen could make more personnel decisions.

Last month, Athletic Director Oliver Luck said he and Holgorsen had met to discuss the coaching staff, among many things, but that, "I strongly believe in our coaching staff, including the work that our strength and conditioning staff is doing. In my opinion, continuity is the key ingredient that will bring our football program back to the high level that Mountaineer fans expect."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at or 304-319-1142. His blog is at



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