Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
Jeff Choate, the WSU Cougars linebackers coach, has been linked to the defensive coordinator position at UTEP. Meanwhile, inside receivers coach Eric Morris is believed to be a candidate for a similar position at his alma mater, Texas Tech.
The coaching carousel just keeps spinning, and while WSU fans got just a little taste of it when Mike Leach's name was briefly linked to the NC State job, it might be close to actually hitting home as a pair of assistants have had their names linked to new coach hires in the past few days.
CoachingSearch.com reported on Saturday that linebackers coach Jeff Choate was leaving Leach's staff to take the defensive coordinator position at UTEP, but sources told us that at that point it wasn't yet a done deal. Given that there's been no official announcement from either side -- and that these things usually happen fairly quickly -- we think it's fair to conclude that the original report was probably premature.
Then word came today that perhaps inside receivers coach Eric Morris could be heading back to Texas Tech under new Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Have not confirmed; but strong chance that Washington State inside receivers coach Eric Morris goes with Kliff to Texas Tech— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) December 12, 2012
Care to elaborate on what you mean by "have not confirmed"?
The connection is a natural one: Morris and Kingsbury are Tech alums who worked together on Kevin Sumlin's staff at Houston before Morris came north and Sumlin and Kingsbury headed off to Texas A&M. Although they didn't play together at Tech (Kingsbury's career spanned 2000-2002, while Morris played from 2005-2008), they both obviously are well versed in the Air Raid.
The connection of Choate to UTEP is a bit more fuzzy. Choate came from Boise State and spent all but one year of his coaching career in Utah, Idaho and Washington. He's a St. Maries, Idaho, native, and El Paso is a long way from the northwest. Choate has no obvious ties to Texas.
However, Choate joined Leach's staff in the first place with the express desire to forward his coaching career after feeling like he had been pigeonholed a bit at Boise State. It seems to have worked, as he is reported to have interviewed for the Idaho job that eventually went to Paul Petrino before being linked to this defensive coordinator position -- a job that certainly would move his career along, even if UTEP isn't exactly a tradition-rich football program.
How Leach would choose to fill these potential vacancies is anyone's guess. Most assistant coach hires will elicit little more than a "Who?" followed by a shrug from most fans, and there's no reason to think this wouldn't be the same.