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January 14, 2012

Football Announces Staff Addition

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - (January 14, 2012) - West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen has announced that Joe DeForest will join the Mountaineer coaching staff. Holgorsen will announce the coaching responsibilities of his new hires once his staff is complete.

"Joe is an outstanding addition to the West Virginia football staff and brings years of experience, expertise and knowledge of the Big 12 Conference." Holgorsen said. "He is not only a good coach, but a great teacher. I worked with him at Oklahoma State and look forward to him and his family joining the Mountaineer program."

DeForest rejoins Holgorsen on the staff, after spending the past 11 years at Oklahoma State. Both were on the Cowboys' staff in 2010. At OSU, DeForest was the associate head coach, special teams' coordinator and safeties coach since 2005. From the 2001-05, he was the special teams' coordinator and secondary coach for the Cowboys. He worked under Les Miles from 2001-04, and the past seven years under current coach Mike Gundy.

"I am happy to come to West Virginia University and be a part of Dana Holgorsen's staff," DeForest said. "Dana has done great things here already, and I look forward to helping him and the staff continue to build on what has already been started. As West Virginia enters the Big 12 Conference and with Dana's previous knowledge of the conference, I am hopeful that my experience in the league also will be helpful in the transition as well. The Mountaineer program has a lot of history and tradition, and I look forward to West Virginia going to more BCS bowls in the future."

DeForest brings with him 22 years of collegiate coaching experience, and has coached in nine bowl games. He was named a rivals.com Top 25 recruiter in 2004, 2006 and 2008 and has coached 15 all-conference performers, five All-Americans and nine players who played professionally.

Known nationally for his special teams' expertise, DeForest has coached three different Cowboys to Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year honors in the last four years, with return man Dez Bryant earning the honor in 2008, kicker Dan Bailey securing the recognition in 2010 and kicker/punter Quinn Sharp getting the nod in 2011. During his tenure, he also coached the all-time leaders in kick return touchdowns, as Perrish Cox took four back for scores from 2006-09 and current sophomore Justin Gilbert has matched that total.

In 2011, DeForest was part of the OSU staff that produced one the finest seasons in the school's history. The Cowboys finished 12-1 overall, won the Big 12 Conference championship, defeated Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl and finished as the No. 3-ranked team nationally in both major polls.

He served as position coach for a pair of All-Americans, safety Markelle Martin (AFCA) and kicker Quinn Sharp (FWAA). Martin finished with 74 tackles, including five tackles for loss, 11 pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Sharp was the No. 3-ranked punter in the nation, tied for No. 7 in field goals made per game and No. 5 in scoring.

In 2010, DeForest had one of the top special teams' units in the nation. Bailey won the prestigious Lou Groza Award, and Sharp earned first team All-America (FWAA) honors. His unit accounted for two kick return touchdowns, a punt return touchdown and two blocked punt returns for touchdowns. Defensively, his safeties Johnny Thomas and Martin both returned interceptions for touchdowns.

His 2008 special teams' units were as equally impressive. The Cowboys boasted the No. 2 ranked punt return unit, the No. 6 punt unit and the No. 18 kick return squad.

Punter Matt Fodge was named the recipient of the Ray Guy Award presented to the nation's top punter, Bryant, OSU's punt returner, earned the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year Award and Cox collected All-America honors as a kick returner.

Cox set a Big 12 record with two kick returns for touchdowns to give him four career kick returns for touchdowns, a figure that at one time led all active NCAA players. In 2007, he was one of only three players in the nation to return a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown.

In 2006, the Cowboys ended the year No. 8 nationally in kickoff returns, No. 27 in punt returns, and had some of the nation's standout special teams' performers. Cox was named a freshman All-American after finishing No. 14 nationally in punt returns, Grant Jones, a second team All-American, was No. 13 in kickoff returns and Fodge was named a second team All-American after ending the season No. 8 in punting.

In 2005, Daniel McLemore accumulated the second-most kickoff return yards (638) in OSU history. DeForest also oversaw the development of walk-on kicker Bruce Redden, who connected on 11-of-14 field goals for the year.

In 2004, the Cowboys led the Big 12 and were No. 10 nationally in punt returns, averaging 14.7 yards per return, No. 26 in net punting and No. 38 in kickoff returns.

When DeForest arrived in Stillwater in 2001, his impact was felt immediately, as Oklahoma State improved in every statistical category, going from No. 78 to No. 10 in net punting, from No. 67 to No. 12 in punt returns and from No. 92 to No. 3 in kickoff returns. Returner Chris Massey led the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 34.8 yards per return.

Prior to his tenure at Oklahoma State, DeForest served stints at Duke (1994-2001) as the special teams' coordinator and linebackers coach. He was the outside linebackers coach at Rice from 1992-94 and the offensive graduate assistant (RB) from 1990-92. He began his coaching career at Titusville High School in Titusville, Fla., in 1988 and served two years as the outside linebackers coach.

While at Duke in 2000, the Blue Devils finished No. 6 nationally in net punting and 15th in kickoff returns. Punter Brian Morton was No. 2 in the nation in punting, averaging 45.2 yards per kick, while Kyle Moore (No. 9) and Chris Douglas (No. 45) both ranked in the Top 50 in kickoff returns. Trevor Cobb was the 1991 Doak Walker Award winner as one of DeForest's pupils at Rice.

DeForest is a 1987 graduate of University of Southwest Louisiana (now known as University of Louisiana) with a bachelor's degree in marketing. He was a four-year starter and was twice named to the all-Southern and all-Louisiana independent teams. He also was a two-year lettermen as a pitcher on the Ragin Cajuns' baseball squad. He received the first annual President's Cup, signifying the University's top male athlete.

He played two years of professional football as an outside linebacker and deep snapper, first for the Houston Oilers (NFL) and New Orleans Saints (NFL) in 1987 and then finished career with the Calgary Stampeders (CFL) in 1988.

DeForest was born in Teaneck, N.J., and grew up in Titusville, Fla. He, and his wife, Laura, have one daughter, Ashley.


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