West Virginia University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Oliver Luck has announced that Dana Holgorsen, architect of some of college football’s most explosive offenses, will join the Mountaineer football coaching staff as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 2011 season, before becoming WVU’s 33rd head football coach in 2012.
Holgorsen, a finalist for the 2010 Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant football coach, and the rivals.com Offensive Coordinator of the Year, comes to West Virginia after serving as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State during the 2010 season. The Cowboys led the nation in total offense, averaging 537.6 yards per game, were No. 2 in passing offense, averaging 354.7 yards per game, and No. 3 in scoring offense, averaging 44.9 points per game.
“I think the transition year for Coach Holgorsen will be very beneficial to the football program, and the opportunity to learn from Coach Bill Stewart should not be underestimated,” Luck says. “Coach Holgorsen is one of the top coaches in college football. His success at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State speaks for itself. We know that Coach Holgorsen will bring a high-powered offense that will be incredibly entertaining to watch at Milan Puskar Stadium.
“He will also provide a lot of energy and enthusiasm to our team as well as a wealth of experience. He has served under some fantastic mentors over the years, guys such as Hal Mumme, Mike Leach and Kevin Sumlin. I look forward to Coach Holgorsen joining us. I cannot imagine a better combination of offensive and defensive coordinators in Dana Holgorsen and Jeff Casteel working for Coach Stewart. Mountaineer football is in the best of hands.
“The entire Mountaineer community greatly appreciates the work that Coach Bill Stewart has done for West Virginia University and the entire state. Going back to his first year on the football staff in 2000, which was the final season for Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen, Coach Stewart has been a tremendous representative of our football program.
“We are indeed fortunate to have enjoyed his steady leadership and infectious personality. His dedication and love for his home state, as well as his passion for Mountaineer football, are unparalleled, and we look forward with great anticipation to a successful 2011 season with coach Stewart in charge.”
The Cowboy offense ranked No. 61 nationally in total offense in 2009, the year before Holgorsen arrived, and he took it to the No. 1 spot in 2010. He was a vital member of the coaching staff, helping lead the Cowboys to a school-record 10 wins during the regular season and a berth in the Valero Alamo Bowl, after preseason predictions had OSU near the bottom of the Big 12 Conference.
Postseason accolades rolled in for Holgersen’s offensive players as quarterback Brandon Weeden became the first OSU passer to earn first team all-Big 12 honors. He was a finalist for the Manning Award, given to the top quarterback in the nation.
Receiver Justin Blackmon was named the recipient of the 2010 Biletnikoff Award, given to the top receiver in the nation, and running back Kendall Hunter was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back.
Weeden, Hunter and Blackmon become only the second trio in NCAA history to pass for at least 3,000 yards, run for more than 1,500 yards and finish with more than 1,500 yards receiving in the same season.
“I look forward to the opportunity to join West Virginia University as offensive coordinator for the 2011 season,” Holgorsen says. “It will be a privilege to work alongside two great football coaches in Bill Stewart and Jeff Casteel.
“Naturally, I am excited about succeeding Coach Stewart in 2012 and becoming the head coach of the Mountaineers and leading the West Virginia football program to even greater heights.
“My goal is to win a national championship at West Virginia University, and I firmly believe that Coach Stewart has built a solid foundation, which will allow us to compete with the very best in the country.”
Prior to OSU, Holgorsen was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Houston. During his two-year tenure with the Cougars, his offenses once again put up explosive numbers, accounting for 563 yards of total offense per game, passing for 433.7 yards per game and totaling more than 42.2 points per game. His offense ranked No. 3 in total offense in 2008 and No. 1 in 2009.
His quarterback, Case Keenum, led the nation in total offense in 2008 and 2009, totaling 403.2 yards per game as a sophomore and 416.4 yards his junior season. He also ranked among the Top 10 nationally in pass efficiency both years.
Before his two-year stint with the Cougars, Holgorsen was a member of the coaching staff at Texas Tech from 2000-07, serving as the inside receivers coach from 2000-04, before being elevated to co-offensive coordinator in 2005 and offensive coordinator in 2006-07.
During his time in Lubbock, his offenses increased the amount of yardage from 324.8 yards of total offense to 529.6, an increase of more than 200 yards per game. The Red Raiders were No. 7 nationally prior to Holgorsen becoming offensive coordinator and raised their yardage total to No. 4 in 2005, his first season directing the offense. In his two years as offensive coordinator, his squad was nationally ranked No. 8 in 2006 and No. 3 in 2007.
In 2007, Texas Tech led the nation in passing (470.31), was No. 2 in total offense (529.62) and was No. 7 in scoring offense (40.9). Quarterback Graham Harrell led the nation in total offense and Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree led the nation in receptions per game and receiving yards per game.
In 2006, the Red Raiders ranked No. 3 nationally in passing offense and No. 6 in total offense. Harrell once again was outstanding, finishing No. 3 nationally in total offense with 344.38 yards per game. Texas Tech led the nation in passing in 2005, was No. 4 in scoring offense (39.4) and No. 6 in total offense (495.83). Quarterback Cody Hodges was No. 2 in the nation with 396.08 yards per game.
Holgorsen also spent time at Valdosta State (1993-95) as the quarterbacks, receivers and special teams coach, Mississippi College (1996-98) as the quarterbacks, receivers and special teams coach and at Wingate (1999) as the quarterbacks and receivers coach.
During his coaching career, his teams have earned 12 bowl appearances. Three of his top pupils, Crabtree (San Francisco), Harrell (Green Bay) and Wes Welker (New England) are in the National Football League.
Holgorsen, a native of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, graduated from Iowa Wesleyan in 1993, and earned his master’s degree from Valdosta State in 1995. He has three children, McClayne, Logan and Carlyn.
Holgorsen, who will replace current offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen, will start at West Virginia after the bowl game and his compensation will be $800,000 in 2011 and will increase to $1.4 million in 2012, plus incentives. All current West Virginia football coaches will remain in place through the bowl game.
Stewart will continue his employment with the University after the 2011 season in an administrative role.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished in the last three years, culminating with a BIG EAST championship this season,” says Stewart. “I took over as head coach in a very challenging time, and we have faced every obstacle with a passion to bring nothing but the best to West Virginia football.
“Our success on the field, in the classroom and in making our players better young men is very satisfying to me. I will continue to devote my entire energy to this program and my players next year. I look forward to having Coach Holgorsen join our staff and working with him to ensure a smooth transition in 2012.
“My love for this great state and University has been well documented. Next year will complete my fourth season as head coach. Our plan is to continue our success, while preparing Mountaineer football for the future.”
CONTACT: Mike Montoro, director of football communications