Tyrone Willingham's task of assembling a coaching staff at Washington appears to be more than halfway done. There has been no confirmation from UW of the hiring of any assistants...

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Tyrone Willingham’s task of assembling a coaching staff at Washington appears to be more than halfway done.

There has been no confirmation from Washington of the hiring of any assistants and there may not be until next week, but sources and reports indicate five of nine positions may be filled.

The latest to apparently come on board are two members of Willingham’s staff last year at Notre Dame — defensive coordinator Kent Baer and defensive backs coach Steven Wilks.

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Baer, who served as Willingham’s defensive coordinator at Stanford from 1999 to 2001 and at Notre Dame the last three seasons, was interim head coach for the Irish in its loss to Oregon State in Tuesday’s Insight Bowl.

Baer acknowledged he talked to Willingham about coming to UW but was reportedly in the running to become coach at New Mexico State. However, reports out of Las Cruces are that the Aggies will name Southeastern Louisiana coach Hal Mumme as their coach today. Baer has reportedly told friends he is heading to Washington.

Baer, 53, has been a defensive coordinator for 18 years, 11 in the Pac-10, which includes stints at Arizona State and California working for Bruce Snyder.

Wilks, 35, was hired at Notre Dame last spring and has quickly earned a reputation as a rising star. He previously worked at Bowling Green, Illinois State and Appalachian State and was head coach at Division II Savannah State (Ga.) in 1999.

Already thought to be part of Willingham’s staff are Chris Tormey and Randy Hart, who were part of ex-coach Keith Gilbertson’s staff, and Mike Denbrock, offensive-line and tight-ends coach at Notre Dame the past three seasons.

One coaching source said earlier that Washington is attempting to make a run at luring Boise State offensive coordinator Chris Petersen, but that is regarded as unlikely to happen.

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