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Marshall sports: Football assistant hired; Hamrick refutes claim

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The Marshall football team soon should fill one more open spot on its coaching staff.

University sources said former Florida International offensive line coach Alex Mirabal likely will be named the Thundering Herd's offensive line coach.

Mirabal would replace Geep Wade, who left Marshall after one season for a position at Middle Tennessee State.

Mirabal spent six seasons on the FIU staff, the first three coaching tight ends and the next three with the offensive line. Mirabal left FIU after Coach Mario Cristobal was fired and replaced with former Illinois Coach Ron Turner.

Mirabal would reunite with Marshall offensive coordinator Bill Legg, who was FIU's offensive coordinator in 2008-09. Before joining the Panthers' staff, Mirabal was a long-time high school coach in Miami with stints on the staffs at Christopher Columbus and Braddock high schools.

The Herd has filled three other coaching positions in the past two weeks, announcing Monday the hiring of former Georgia State defensive coordinator Anthony Midget to fill a yet-to-be announced spot on the defensive staff.

Marshall announced the hiring of head strength and conditioning Coach Scott Sinclair on Friday and the hiring of defensive coordinator Chuck Heater on Jan. 14.

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ATHLETIC DIRECTOR Mike Hamrick was not happy with a MetroNews story citing an anonymous source saying IMG, which sources told the Daily Mail agreed to a 12-year contract with West Virginia for Tier 3 multimedia rights, would try to "squeeze" advertisers to subsidize what the story called its "underperforming" Marshall property.

MetroNews is owned by West Virginia Radio Corp., which also sought WVU's Tier 3 rights.

An IMG spokesman told the Daily Mail any claim that IMG would use another school to subsidize Marshall was "completely incorrect and unfair to the school."

Hamrick also called the MetroNews source's claims false.

"The relationship has been very profitable for Marshall and very profitable for IMG, and it has been for a long time," Hamrick said.  

Hamrick said Marshall and IMG renegotiated their contract about three years ago, which netted Marshall about $700,000 more per year. Marshall used that money for new scoreboards, video boards and other improvements at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. He added that, in the last three years, Marshall's client base has expanded 20 to 30 percent.

"For someone to infer that Marshall's relationship needs to be subsidized by some other property is totally wrong, false and inaccurate," Hamrick added. "I'm very disappointed it was presented that way. All they had to do was pick the phone up and call me."

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HERD COACH Tom Herrion has gone up against some very successful coaches during his Marshall tenure - including Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, Louisville's Rick Pitino, Kentucky's John Calipari and West Virginia's Bob Huggins.

He'll face another at 7 p.m. Wednesday when Marshall hosts Southern Methodist and Coach Larry Brown, who replaced Matt Doherty before this season.

Brown, inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002, coached Kansas to the 1988 NCAA title and led the Detroit Pistons to the 2004 NBA title. Herrion said that what the 72-year-old Brown means to the sport goes beyond any trophy case.

"The sustained level of success throughout his career is remarkable," Herrion said. "It's unmatched. Very few have ever done it at both levels. The biggest thing is he's a great teacher. That's one thing, not just the longevity of his career, but he's a great teacher of the game. That's what I think I respect the most about him and what he's done for the game.

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.


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