Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 | 4:15 p.m.
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Several assistant football coaches at UNLV were given notice Monday that their contracts won’t be renewed for the upcoming season, said Jerry Koloskie, UNLV’s interim athletic director.
Koloskie said the coaches will be paid for another 60 days, but are finished with their football obligations.
Head coach Mike Sanford was fired after five seasons three weeks ago and the Rebels closed the 2009 season last Saturday with a 28-24 victory against San Diego State.
In the dead time until a new coach is hired — a move not expected until mid-to-late December — the program could fall behind in securing a recruiting class for the Feb. 3 signing day. The signing period for junior college players begins Dec. 15.
Terry Cottle, the associate athletic director who oversees football, said volunteer assistant recruiting coordinator Jimmy Morimoto will organize the recruiting effort on an interim basis. Morimoto and graduate assistants Shane Steichen and Rhett Brooks are the only coaches still at work, Cottle said.
“We are staying in touch with recruits the best we can. Obviously, it is difficult without a coach in place,” Cottle said.
An open recruiting period, when college coaches are allowed to visit recruits off campus, started on Monday and runs through the end of January. A majority of Morimoto's work, however, is done through e-mail and phone calls.
At Bishop Gorman on Tuesday, assistants from seven colleges watched the undefeated Gaels practice in preparation for this Saturday’s state title game. Gorman potentially has 10 Division I recruits in its senior class.
In year’s past, now-former UNLV assistant coach Kris Cinkovich, a former local high school coach who recruited Southern Nevada the past six years, could have been part of the group.
While Koloskie said this isn’t the ideal way to recruit, he also said he doesn’t believe the program will fall behind. There is a recruiting dead period from Dec. 22 to Jan. 1 and a new head coach will likely be in place for the January recruiting rush.
Koloskie said the new coach will have to take advantage of the recruiting weekends in January for campus visits and the major lifting on attracting recruits.
“We aren’t missing much,” Koloskie said. “Obviously, we are very sensitive to recruiting and know the recruiting period is critical.”
Koloskie said UNLV has a handful of gray-shirts — players who signed last February, but won’t enroll until next month — already on board and a few high school players who have verbally committed. Cottle said Morimoto has been in contact with those athletes.
A coach won’t be hired until the university finds a new athletic director. A search committee met Tuesday to review applications and Koloskie has applied for the position.
Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected].