HOUSTON - New Houston Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen named the first seven members of his staff Friday, including a trio of coaches who worked with him at West Virginia.
Doug Belk will be co-defensive coordinator & coach cornerbacks and Marquel Blackwell will be co-offensive coordinator and coach the quarterbacks. Tyron Carrier is the assistant head coach and receivers coach.
Belk spent the last two seasons with Holgorsen at West Virginia as cornerbacks coach, while Blackwell was with Holgorsen for one season as running backs coach.
Blake Gideon comes from Georgia State and he'll coach safeties and special teams.
Shannon Dawson was named as an offensive assistant coach, coming from Southern Mississippi where he was the offensive coordinator the last three seasons. Prior to a one year stint at Kentucky, he was at West Virginia as the offensive coordinator under Holgorsen.
In addition to the four assistant coaches, Holgorsen also named Ryan Dorchester the program’s Assistant Athletics Director for Football Operations and Daikiel Shorts Jr. the program’s Director of Player Development.
Carrier spent the last three seasons at West Virginia as receivers coach and was named Football Scoop's receivers coach of the year in 2018. Carrier was a standout wide receiver on the field for the Cougars from 2008-2011. He finished his Cougars career with 320 receptions, 3,493 receiving yards and 22 total touchdowns.
Under Belk's leadership last season, the West Virginia defense ranked 16th nationally in most defensive three-and-outs per game and 24th in best third-down defense. Prior to his time at West Virginia, Belk served as the defensive graduate assistant coach at Alabama for two years, working with the defensive backs. He worked directly with Head Coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinators Kirby Smart and Jeremy Pruitt, assisting with all aspects of the defensive secondary as well as with special teams.Marquel Blackwell | Co-Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks
Blackwell spent one season with Holgorsen at West Virginia after coming from Toledo where he spent two seasons as their running backs coach.
Gideon joined the Georgia State staff after two seasons as the defensive backs coach and defensive passing game coordinator at Western Carolina. In 2017, Gideon helped coach a Western Carolina defense that ranked No. 15 nationally in passing yards per game allowed and No. 20 in pass efficiency defense. Gideon was a four-year starter at safety and two-time team captain at Texas, where he played under head coach Mack Brown and defensive coordinators Will Muschamp and Manny Diaz.
Dawson joins the Cougars coming off a season at Southern Miss that saw the Golden Eagles finish 3rd nationally in completion percentage, completing 69.2 percent of their passes. He also helped build some of the nation’s most prolific offenses at West Virginia, where he spent four seasons, including his last three as offensive coordinator. In his last season in Morgantown, West Virginia ranked 12th in the nation in total offense, averaging 499.8 yards per game, and was ninth nationally in passing offense at 317 yards per contest. The Mountaineers averaged 33.5 points per game and set a school record by scoring at least 30 points in eight consecutive games. West Virginia also averaged more than 182 rushing yards per game.
Dorchester spent 14 seasons at West Virginia, his last five as Director of Player Personnel. He served as the liaison to coach Dana Holgorsen on all recruiting issues while coordinating Holgorsen’s recruiting efforts, including correspondence and in-person visits.
Shorts Jr. spent one season as a program assistant at West Virginia after his career as a WR under Holgorsen at West Virginia He closed his career in 2016 ranked fifth on the West Virginia career chart with 177 receptions and sixth with 2,263 receiving yards. He owns the program’s freshman receptions record with 45 in his first year with the program.
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