John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Dana Holgorsen reacts to a special-teams penalty during West Virginia’s 31-19 loss to Kansas.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Claiming continuity is crucial to improving West Virginia’s football program, athletics director Oliver Luck reiterated his support for head coach Dana Holgorsen on Tuesday.

Three days after West Virginia concluded a 4-8 season with a 52-44 loss to Iowa State, Luck released a statement proclaiming the program “must get better” in 2014—expectations he said he shared with Holgorsen. The Mountaineers closed the season by losing six of their final seven games and failed to earn a bowl bid for the first time since 2001.

Holgorsen is 21-17 overall in three seasons at WVU, his first stop as a head coach. His 2011 team went 10-3 and captured the Big East crown, but two ensuing seasons have produced a 6-12 record in the Big 12.

With more than $11 million remaining on his contract, Holgorsen essentially is too expensive to fire, even if Luck had been inclined to do so. WVU’s athletic department, which was $13 million in debt during fiscal year ending 2012, netted a $4.2 million profit in 2013 but, according to Luck, projects a $50,000 shortfall in 2014.

Though they figured to be in rebuilding mode this season, the Mountaineers knocked off current league frontrunner Oklahoma State on Sept. 28. Things nose-dived the following week, however, West Virginia allowed 56 first-half points in a 72-43 loss at Baylor. Holgorsen’s job security became questionable when the Mountaineers lost at Kansas on Nov. 16, snapping the Jayhawks’ 27-game conference losing streak.

When only 33,735 attended the season finale against Iowa State, it marked the third-smallest crowd in the 34-year history of Mountaineer Field.

The full extent of Luck’s statement:

First, I want to thank all Mountaineer fans who supported our football team through a difficult and trying season. Though there were some high points this year, including our upset victory over No. 11 Oklahoma State and the inspired play from many first year student-athletes, there were far too many disappointments.

We have high expectations at West Virginia University for success on and off the field and as Coach Holgorsen has acknowledged to me, we are not meeting those expectations on the field. Coach Holgorsen and I met at length and reviewed this past season. We discussed the coaching staff, recruiting, player development, strength and conditioning, academic support, facilities, in short, all the components that make up a successful program. We are working diligently to improve our capabilities in all of these areas.

I strongly believe in our coaching staff, including the work that our strength and conditioning staff is doing. In my opinion, continuity is the key ingredient that will bring our football program back to the high level that Mountaineer fans expect.

We had plenty of challenges this season; nonetheless, we should not and will not use those as excuses for our performance. We simply must get better.

Coach Holgorsen and his staff are on the road recruiting this week, securing the future for a successful Mountaineer football program.  We need to do our part as well by continuing to move forward with the facility improvements needed to compete at the highest level in our conference.

We have high expectations for the 2014 football team, and I have shared those with Coach Holgorsen. He and his staff are eager to get started to prepare for our opening game against Alabama. We are well aware that we have a lot of work to do.

We have tremendous student-athletes in our program and a very accomplished core of coaches who want to bring championships back to West Virginia University. We will do all we can to help them in that endeavor, and I ask for your continued support as we move forward to a brighter future.

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  • stephen

    WVU is in over it's head in the big 12. Ollie was such a success heading NFL europe and a professional soccer franchise we just had to hire him. he would have been gone if Texas wanted him. his greatest accomplishment as the AD at WVU was finally figuaring out a way to get more money off of the drunks by locking them in the stadium and making them pay $8 for a watered down beer.

  • TruthTeller

    You people just don't get it. There are no real games anymore. The Elite pay off teams like WVU to lose. The Elite are controlling the out come of all the games so only the rich and bigger schools get all the benefits of winning. Since WVU moved to the Big 12 there will be no more BCS bowls. No more NCAA tournament trips. The Elite are paying all of these teams millions to lose and not to be a threat to the richer and bigger schools. That is how WVU can shoot the lights out against the smaller schools but can't make even a free throw against the richer and bigger schools.
    Am I the only one that sees what is going on?
    You sheeple need to wake up!!! All these games are fixed anymore. So that the rich and bigger can collect all the benefits including the best recruits. GAME OVER


    "Dandy" Dana does not possess the strong characteristics to be Head football coach here at WVU. I sit back and try to notice the overall fit of a man when he takes the head coaching job at any football school. Now, don't get me wrong, coaches like to put their spin on uniforms and change a few things around when they take over, that's just a way of life. West Virginians love their school and the gold and blue; this color is represented on our state license plates, on game day the WV toll booth operators wear the gold and blue. Then on game day, "Dandy" Dana wears black and white ! Black and white, yes black and white; and "Dandy" Dana has not honored wearing the gold and blue now after 3 years. This guy is so aloof and arrogant he does not understand the culture and the pride at WVU. May Bill Stewart rest in peace. I knew Stu, and he loved this state and WVU with a passion and a sense of pride that showed every minute of the day. All of that is over now, and as WVU diehard fans, we need to move on. I just think in the present, we have a head coach who is not the man for WVU; and we have an AD who has sold us damaged goods in a number of areas; football coach, conference membership, media contracts, beer sales in the stands; fans fighting fans in the stands; and has resulted with the prestige of WVU at an all time low now around the nation. Yes, around the nation. Most WVU fans can only afford one away conference game at the most in the BIG12. The buzzards are coming home to roost right now; while some of our die-hard WVU friends think everything is fine at WVU. Yeah, give "Dandy" Dana 2 more years in the black and white to yell and scream on the sidelines. My opinion only !

  • Brandon

    As much as I hate what happened this year with our FB team, we need to give Holgs 1-2 more years. Not just because of the $$, but also to see if he can actually develop players he recruits. He walked into Geno, Tavon, Stedman, Bruce Irvin, etc. I'm ultimately not convinced he is the right guy, but a hasty decision to fire him now will only assure us a warm seat in the Big 12 cellar for another 3-4 years. More times than not, teams take a step back with a new coach initially.
    I do know Oliver Luck, and people are wrong about him. He's running this dept like a business, as he should. This is no longer as Good Ole Boys Club. He must make difficult and unpopular decisions. And he was not trying to jump ship for Texas because he didn't like WVU. For an AD, Texas is the absolute pinnacle. I do not blame him for talking with them if they showed interest. I see it as a compliment to what he is doing at WVU.
    I also knew Bill Stewart, and I could have nothing bad to say about him personally, ever. It is sad it ended the way it did, because no one was a more loyal Mountaineer than him. He just was not meant to be our head coach.
    Go Mounties! Beat Missouri tonight!

  • Big Larry !!

    I am so pissed off the Basketball team is winning and I can't bash Sweatsuit Huggins

    I can't post on the basketball stories cause I can't post nuthin positive. If this keeps up I may be forced to get a life.

    That assclown from Huntington
    Big Larry

  • Oh oh the kiss of death

    How many time have we heard I have the coaches back than they fire them.

  • Troll is back

    Who is the coach?

  • richard

    doesn't matter if it's big east or big 12........there is a difference in talent, but still i saw plenty of big east teams beat big 12, sec and other conferences. stewart did a good job. he was a winner. more than dana can say.

  • susanf1218

    I really don't understand the obsessive hatred that so many of the Holgorsen/Luck supporters have toward Marshall. Can't you support BOTH teams?? You really make yourselves look bad by your comments. It's not like WVU and Marshall are rivals. I am glad that Marshall is doing well - I wish WVU had done better also, but I don't see that happening w/the current leadership.

  • Toadman

    Great picture of Holgerson at the top of this page. Did he just pass gas or did he drink one too many Red Bull's? Maybe both!
    He's my idol. That's what I wan-a-be when I grow up! Soooo proud of him!

  • squad

    wow I cant believe there are any comments on this subject. I am really surprised.

  • peleliu

    Just use the same criteria for replacing D.H. as was used for Stewart. Does any one know who recruited Smith, Bailey and Austin? Yes D.H. had a good first year, but he was feasting on someone's else's recruiting efforts.
    We need more pluck and a whole lot less Luck.

  • pghmountaineer

    Where are some of you folks getting your recruiting class grades? ESPN has us 45 and has us at 48. You call that a good class?
    We're barely in the top 50. That's terrible!

  • golfergirl

    This is bullcrap!! I mean COME. ON. Grow a pair and fire the man Luck. Im pretty sure the whole frikin state of West Virginia would help you pay the rest of the money. They might even help pay to get YOU FIRED! Bill Stewart may not have been the best "coaching" material but you know what he had a heck of a lot more Mountaineer Pride than the two of you PUT TOGETHER!
    "Its a great day to be a Mountaineer!" - RIP Bill Stewart

  • Georgio

    He needs 2 more years to get the players needed to run his offense. Then, if it does not get much better, well..................