Welch declined to divulge the five finalists for the UC position, but sources told the Charleston Daily Mail that Golden Eagles offensive coordinator Ralph Isernia -- an in-house candidate and DeMeo's promoted choice as his successor -- and former WVU offensive line coach Dave Johnson were among those interviewed for the vacant West Virginia Conference position.
"We've been at this a couple of weeks intently," Welch said. "Lots of interviews, lots of phone conversations, lots of weighing pluses and minuses.
"You've got a list of things, or at least that's the way I make a decision ... and you try to weigh and balance which set of positives are the best fit for the university."
Kirkland is a native of Akron, Ohio, and earned All-Ohio Athletic Conference honors as a defensive back at Muskingum College in 1996. He spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Muskingum and then a year on the staff at John Glenn High School in Concord, Ohio, before landing the Glenville State gig.
Kirkland also stepped in as the cornerbacks coach for West Virginia's Fiesta Bowl win after the 2007 season when the position coach, Tony Gibson, followed Rodriguez to Michigan.
Kirkland drew WVU bowl duties again following the 2009 regular season when Doc Holliday accepted the Marshall head coaching position and Kirkland assumed Holliday's fullback and tight ends coach responsibilities for the Mountaineers' Gator Bowl loss to Florida State.
As coordinator of recruiting operations and the high school relations man on the WVU staff, Kirkland and Holliday worked closely in Holliday's two years on Stewart's staff.
"He's a great young guy and solid young coach and I'm sure Pat will do a great job over there," Holliday said. "He's very enthusiastic, and that kind of thing rubs off on players.
"He has a lot of recruiting ties in Ohio. I'm sure Pat will have to expand that some, but the key to success in recruiting is working hard. Pat is one of those guys who will wake up early and go to bed late. He'll do what it takes to get the job done."
The new UC coach, who will debut when Charleston travels to Mars Hill (N.C.) for the season opener on Sept. 3, said his time at West Virginia will influence his vision for the Golden Eagles' offense and defense.
Kirkland and his wife, Sarah, have an infant daughter, Sadie. The UC coach had a 3 p.m. meeting Tuesday with his new team, and will sit down with assistants from DeMeo's coaching staff soon and begin making decisions on his own staff.
"Over the last 24 hours when word got I was coming here, you'd be amazed about the number of individuals that contacted me," Kirkland said. "Right now it's just the excitement ... the excitement to be here and get things rolling.
"The coaching professions, it seems like every year it is getting more competitive. I'm very fortunate at this age to have this opportunity."
Sports Editor Jack Bogaczyk contributed information to this report.
Contact sportswriter Chuck McGill at chuck.mcg...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712.