Zook could lose two assistants

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Jul 21, 2004
Wichita KS
January 6, 2005

BY HERB GOULD Staff Reporter

Lured by big pay raises, two assistant football coaches who had accompanied Ron Zook from Florida to Illinois are on the verge of defecting to Oklahoma State, sources said Wednesday.

Offensive coordinator Larry Fedora and Joe Wickline, a highly regarded recruiter who had been the Gators' offensive line coach, are believed to be seriously considering lucrative offers from Oklahoma State. Fedora's offer is for $275,000, more than $100,000 higher than his Illinois salary, a source said. Wickline's offer would roughly double his Illinois deal to about $200,000, the source said.

Fedora and new Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy have been friends since they were assistants at Baylor. Gundy, the Cowboys' offensive coordinator this past season, was named head coach Tuesday to replace Les Miles, who left Stillwater to become head coach at LSU.

Zook, who was awaiting decisions from Fedora and Wickline, could not be reached.

The defections would leave Zook with four assistants on his staff, which he had increased to six last week to have the maximum of seven coaches on the road during the recruiting period that began this week. Zook has not designated his assistants' specific coaching roles beyond Fedora.

His four other hires are Dan Disch, who came with him from Florida; Tommy Thigpen, an Illinois holdover; Curt Mallory, a former Indiana assistant; and Reggie Mitchell, a former Michigan State assistant.