MORGANTOWN - When the 2010 football season started, West Virginia was able to brag about paying all nine assistant football coaches $200,000 or more and employing the highest-paid staff in the Big East.
WVU is preparing for 2011 and beyond by next season paying its offensive assistants more than the entire offensive and defensive staff made this past season - and four of those offensive coaches won't be Mountaineers next fall.
The university formally announced Wednesday the previously reported additions of offensive assistants Bill Bedenbaugh, Shannon Dawson and Robert Gillespie for offensive coordinator/head coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen. Gillespie and Bedenbaugh will make $250,000 per season while Dawson will earn $200,000.
"The three new coaches are eager to get started and become a part of the Mountaineer family," Coach Bill Stewart said in a statement. "I feel very confident we have two of the top coordinators in college football next year with Dana Holgorsen running our offense and Jeff Casteel heading up our defense."
Gillespie, formerly Oklahoma State's running backs coach and hired as WVU's running game coordinator, will have a three-year contract.
"I really look forward to joining the Mountaineer staff, getting to learn from Coach Bill Stewart, continuing work with Coach Holgorsen and helping to build on the success that the program has already had," Gillespie said.
Bedenbaugh, the offensive line coach hired from Arizona, and Dawson, the inside receivers coach hired from Stephen F. Austin, will have two-year deals.
"Being able to work in a BCS conference and with Coach Bill Stewart and Coach Holgorsen really excites me and presents a great situation," Dawson said. "I have known Coach Holgorsen for a long time and we've always talked about working together and this is the first time that the opportunity has presented itself. I can't wait to get started."
Wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway was retained and redefined as the outside receivers coach. He made $200,000 last season, the first in his two-year contract.
Holgorsen, who has worked with Gillespie, worked and played with Bedenbaugh and coached Dawson, will make $800,000 in 2011 as the offensive coordinator. WVU is also paying former offensive assistants Jeff Mullen ($225,000), Dave Johnson ($225,000), Dave McMichael ($200,000) and Chris Beatty ($200,000) for 2011 even though they were not retained by Holgorsen.
The combined $2.55 million promised to those present and dismissed coaches for 2011 is greater than the $1.925 million in base pay given to all of the 2010 assistants.
Defensive assistants Bill Kirelawich, David Lockwood and Steve Dunlap each make $200,000 while Casteel makes $275,000.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.