MORGANTOWN - "Yes, I'm aware of the chatter, Athletic Director said of unconfirmed reports that defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel may leave West Virginia University.
"I expect all of our coaches to come back next year, "Luck said. "But I am aware that they could have options."
Casteel, who has been at WVU for 11 years, was asked a week ago whether he had any plans after Jan. 4th.
"No, I don't have any plans," Casteel replied. "I am under contract through 2012." The other defensive coaches also have contracts for next season.
Luck said two-year contracts for coaches were established by Ed Pastilong, his predecessor, and that procedure has continued. However, Luck maintains that since Casteel is the coordinator he has a year beyond. Therefore, Casteel's contract extends an extra year, through 2013.
However, scuttlebutt persists that Casteel will rejoin Rodriguez, newly named head coach at the University of Arizona. The two had worked together at WVU previously.
Luck pointed out, however, that Casteel did not accompany Rodriquez when he left West Virginia for Michigan four years ago.
Another unconfirmed report making the rounds is that Dave Lockwood, WVU's coach of the cornerbacks and defensive special teams players, also will join the Arizona staff and would recruit in the East.
Lockwood, a WVU graduate who played football under Don Nehlen, has been coaching for 23 years--five at his alma mater.
If Casteel does leave, Luck wouldn't have to look far for a successor. Steve Dunlap, who is the current coach of the Mountaineer safeties, spent several years as defensive coordinator in the Nehlen regime.
He has spent 25 of his 35 years coaching at WVU. His 1996 defensive unit ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defensive. It also was No.2 in scoring defense.
Dunlap also served short stints as an assistant coach at N.C. State, Syracuse and Marshall.
"There was talk last year, too," Luck recalled, referring to Casteel possibly leaving." But he stayed with us."
Casteel and his staff replaced seven starters who graduated in 2010, and the defense continued to improve as the Mountaineers finished with a fourth consecutive 9-3 record.
Now they will be seeking a 10th victory against Clemson (10-3) in next Wednesday's Orange Bowl at Miami, Fla.