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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  • Jrizzle

    Stew's 3 year record, and mountaineer field attendance were deemed unacceptable by mr. Luck. 27-10, if my recollection is accurate. Never had a game with attendance as low as Iowa state's this past Saturday.

    These were the 2 primary reasons luck gave as reasons stew could not continue as coach.

    Dana has a far worse record, and attendance has plummeted.

    How can Dana continue to survive when he has performed far below his predecessor, who was deemed unfit?

    I would ask mr. Luck this---- if Dana had been hired a week prior to luck, would he accept these results????

    He's obviously sticking with his guy until he runs the program into the ground completely. Although it's debatable as to whether that has already happened.

    People expect consistency from leaders, and luck is showing NONE. His leadership style is "my way, or the highway" with no explanation of any decision made. When will we hold Oliver Luck accountable? If he won't hold dana responsible, we must hold him accountable.

    • Bonnie

      Well said Jrizzle and all true!!!

    • Graywv

      Salary my friend, is a BIG problem, their is noway we can eat that big a salary that is guaranteed, so Luck has no choice, put the hot-pocker to his behind and hope for positive results!

    • mauldawg

      And you could do better that Luck and or Dana. What a laugh!! Go root for your MU herdies!

      • Webb

        If I held myself out to be an offensive genius like Dana does, I would be embarrassed by the talent that he's acquired at his most crucial position.

    • 1smartone

      Well can do two things. 1) Revive Bill Stewart and we can hire him again. 2) Start cheering for another team.

      • Brian

        A real fan would be supporting this football team not ranting about all the bad that happened this year. All this negative crap on here is only bringing negativity to the football team . Any person who thinks negative about this program is not a true mountaineer fan they are a fair weather fan . And when Dana gets this thing rolling with all this negative crap that is spewing from the mouth of those who call themselves MOUNTAINEER fans .You all will be mad when he leaves and goes else where and who would blame him how can you call yourself a fan of WVU

    • 1olewvufan

      Jrizzle, you are correct, but what we WVU Fans have have seen thus far during Holgorsen's rein has been the result of events that took place before Holgorsen arrived. What gets me most is how fans forget.

      I still remember Coach Stew frequently appologizing to WVU Fans for the poor play of Special Teams that he coached.

      Prior to Holgorsen arriving at WVU, recruiting had been down, and many scholarships had gone unfilled. When Holgorsen arrived, he only had one QB on the roster and he held open recruiting for the QB position for any WVU student that wanted to tryout. Holgorsen just needed someone to take the pressure off Geno in practice, for Holg and his coaches were throwing the ball in practice.

      The Kicking and Punting was terrible before Holgorsen arrived. The OL was already struggling, and so was the play of the DBs. WVU also lacked depth at receiver, for it had become a running offense.

      What we fans witnessed this season was the results of wholesale coaching changes that began when Rich Rod left. Rich Rod's NCAA violations also reduced the number of scholarships Holgorsen could give out.

      Yes, Holgorsen has made mistakes. The first group of defense coaches Holg hired was a disaster, for even before their first season had ended: one had been fired; one moved to an office job; one moved from DC to Special Teams; and the Co-DC became the DC.

      Many fans don't realize that many of the WVU football players this season were playing under their 3rd Head Coach, and their 3rd position coach. And WVU has went from a running team to a pass and run team with heavy emphasis on the pass.

      I believe WVU finally has a coaching staff that can move it forward and can develop a team that can win championships. A stable coaching staff is key to WVU's success. No more recruiting players just to have a body at a position, but recruiting players who are smart, athletic and talented is key. Prior to Holg arriving some players recruited be Rich Rod and Stew never saw the field, yet these players had scholarships and received a free education. This is why we fans have seen an OL that can't block, DBs that can't defend a pass, kickers and punters who couldn't kick or punt, etc. We are starting to see some improvement in these areas. This year the kicking and punting game wasn't an embarassment. Now if we can get a solid group of QBs, improve the OL and CB play.

      • Brian

        You are correct and all these other yahoos who are trying to compare what Stewart and Rich Rod did .You need to take your blinders off . W.V.U. is not in the Big East where we were a big fish in a little pond .

      • Webb

        Also, none of these WVU players were playing with their 3rd head coach since being at WVU. Really!?!?! RichRod left in 2007. Please tell me what players were playing here in 2007 that are on the roster in 2013?!?!?! We only had 14 seniors so I can't wait to hear this list of players.

        These excuses for Dana just keep getting more and more ridiculous. I wish most could see this.

      • Webb

        Ok, I will agree to what you are saying mostly. However, what as far as recruiting a QB (the position that is so vital to this immaculate system, that Dana still has had 2 years to acquire) makes you think this man actually knows how to spot talent? Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe the offenses that he coached already had the talent there and his system was new enough that it worked? As much as I hate to say this, look at Marshall's program. Are you telling me that Doc Holliday took over a juggernaut of a program when Snyder left? At least he's been able to recruit talent and get them to perform on the field whether they are in CUSA or not. Most on here are willing to give this man a pass but after 2 full years of recruiting and a partial 3rd, his lack of obtaining talent at his most crucial position is unimpressive to say the least.

      • GoEers

        Your staements are factual. Nice post.

      • Alex

        @ 1oldwvufan......I agree with you on your post ... Like to add that we don't have the depth to complete the game.... Most fans don't see that, all they see it WVU players on the line lined up ....

    • marcus

      Stewart wasn't playing a Big 12 Schedule and was winning with Rich Rod recruits there buddy.

    • wvangler

      Stewart lost to Syracuse (when ranked), to Yukon, South Florida, Cincy...yes we had pretty good win totals and recruited pretty well. But those guys aren't Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, etc.

      In other words - please stop comparing the Big East to the Big 12 by comparing Stewart's record. Playing directional schools and city colleges is nothing like what we are facing now and I personally love the added competition and thank Oliver Luck for not letting us become a mid-major in the AAC and getting us in big money/respected conference.

      I agree that the program is in a bad place, but my criticism of the football program has nothing to do with Stewart or Luck.

    • Brian

      Get over your good ole boy Bill Stewart . He has been gone for a few years . Get over it and move on . You are not a Mountaineer fan . Let him rest in peace please. He is half of Dana"s problem only recruited like less then 20 players one year and left with nothing in the cubboard for Dana . So go booo whoooo to someone who cares

      • joey

        I believe 25 unfilled scholarships when dad arrived.

        • GoEers

          Dana's had to do a lot od recruiting to get WVU's numbers where they need to be. This will be his 3rd recruiting class and it is shaping up to be a good one.

          Let's Go Mountaineers!

        • joey

          dana arrived

    • richard

      Jrizzle, You are right on target. Why would Luck do anything to Holgorsen? He has already proven that he is ready to jump ship ASAP. He showed us that with the Texas job he was trying to get. Why would he care how low the program goes? The answer is He Doesn't. That is clearly why he wants to stick with Holgorsen. He doesn't want the problems that come with changing coaches.

    • Need QB

      Come on Jrizzle, first Steward coached Rich Rod team to a 9-3 record. How does that team only win 9 games! The next year more the same and Steward 3rd year still the team had many players form Rich Rod. As far as recruiting went under Steward his first recruiting class was great and after that not so good and again use some common sense why was his first recruiting so good! You can see his last two recruiting classes on field now.

      • Jrizzle

        The product on the field. Recruiting was never given as a reason for his firing.

        What product has Dana produced? If you can tell me statistically that he's done a better job as coach than stew, let's hear it.

        Regardless of who has more accolades, bottom line is that kids respected stew because he respected them. Dana shows no respect for his players. That's why they don't play for him like the others did for stew.

        • J.R.

          Stewart coached 3 seasons in the Big Easy and won 9 games each year without a conference title and no BCS births.

          In one season in the Big Easy Holgorsen took the same players that coach Stewart could not win a title with and won 10 games, a Big Easy title and a BSC championship.

          I was a fan of coach Stewart and thought he got a shabby deal but lets please not put him in the College Football Hall of Fame

          Boys and Girls WVU does not compete in the Big Easy anymore, they do not have to prepare for one or two actual game s a season and spend the rest of the time dominating the slugs

          TCU came into the Big 12 the same time as West Virginia with an actual potential Hall of Fame coach in Gary Patterson who had won double figure victories I believe 7 times for TCU. Clearly the greatest coach in TCU history and they are all ready rooted in Texas where three other Big 12 teams are located and have a fraction of the travel issues that WVU has had to deal with.

          It should have been an easy transition for the Purple Frogs but guess what coach Patterson's record is in two seasons in the Big 12.....

          11-14 exactly the same as coach Holgorsen he went 7-6 last season with a bowl game loss and 4-8 this season. Even has the same amount of conference victories

          I looked at a couple of their message boards and they fans are not calling for his public execution like most are here even though by your standards he has FAILED miserably

          I wonder why that is.........


        • Alex

          The reason why( William ) Bill Stewart got replaced by Dana is that Mr. luck know ( William ) Bill Stewart was not head-coaching material, all he was good for was a good recruiter because of his nice personality..good family man... Religious man.. But not head-coaching material...RIP mr. Stewart

          • William

            Bill Stewart = winner
            The Man in Black = loser

          • Richard L.

            Stew got hired because Joe Manchin told Pastilong to hire him

          • Jrizzle

            I have not ever questioned the decision with Stewart. You're reading into my words. I'm simply saying that, if Bill Stewart was unfit; Dana is most assuredly unfit. 3 year vs 3 year comparison.

            Agreed- RIP Stew. A great man and a great mentor.

      • Greg


    • jeepster

      I agree with you totally,jrizzle. And I believe that every bad year we have on the football field leads to 1-2 more miserable years of recruiting. What top tier recruit would want to come here after watching holgy perform on the sideline?

    • Jeffrey Vanmeter

      Jrizzle I agree with everything you said

    • C. F. T.

      Jrizzle, thank you for the objectivity, accuracy and wisdom of your comments.

      • wv4evah

        Agree totally

    • squad

      hrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..................hrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.......................rhhhhhhhhhh...did you say something?......................

      • William

        You Know, Is there anyway to get Dana "The Man in Black" Holgerson to stop saying YOU KNOW?
        How many times a day does he say this?

      • William

        When you hire people with POOR CHARACTER & NO CLASS things could end up in a BIG MESS!

        • Graywv

          I am sure you would know something about that!

        • Charlie

          Marshall 9-3 bowl bound

          • mauldawg

            MU is a sorry second rate football team. C-USA is a joke.

        • Charleston,WV

          Do you know him personally?

          • stevewvu

            William knows everything about WVU athletics. Most marshall fans do.

            Right William? You no good troll?

      • squad

        sorry your tirade put me to sleep

        • Jrizzle

          Previous comment directed to 'squad'

        • Big Larry

          You were already asleep...

          • Charleston,WV

            Susanf1218: I believe you are "name calling". So, if you don't have any formative analysis to comment on, then I believe you can audible your sound to silence.

          • susaf1218

            More like brain dead.

        • C. F. T.

          squad squat produces nothing but poo

  • WVcoal

    Another year like this one and Holgasm is gone.

  • Protechcpa

    I think that $50,000 2014 shortfall will grow. I hope this does not mean the coaching staff will be status quo. Should be a major shake up. We need to do some serious house cleaning and if we have any smart, talented coaches on staff, they would be wise to go job hunting. This is a sinking ship.

    • Greg

      Baylor gets a second BCS bid, no deficit. Ahhhh, the benefits of being in a big boy conference! When would the BigEast ever have gotten a second BcS bid?

    • Charleston,WV

      Never mind. I was briefing through the story.

      • Scott

        Attendance and season tickets sells will decline next year.Made a prediction at beginning of the year about fans at the game and how people would drop off.Got called a lot of names feeling vindicated

        • Charleston,WV

          Your right. You'll have your die-hards who will support the team no matter the situation. They purchase their tickets because they enjoy being a Mountaineer Fan, you know, someone who supports the team through the ups and downs, for better or worse, til death do us part. On the other side of the coin, you have your "fair weathers", your "fickles" who will support the team once they start winning again. This cycle you speak of will come and go.

          • susanf1218

            You know, you "die-hard" so -called fans remind me of a movie I saw once where fraternity pledges had to endure being beaten w/a paddle and then say "Please sir, can I have another". Is THAT what you want from Holgorsen and his entourage? If so, you all are gluttons for punishment or masochists. And to clarify for your muddled little minds, criticizing the coaching staff and the AD in no way implies a criticism of the team itself. As a matter of fact, how many of you hypocrites have posted nasty comments about the quarterbacks themselves? I, for one, have not. I support the team and they deserve better than they are getting.

          • marcus

            Well said Charleston ,WV

    • Charleston,WV

      What are you referring to when you say, "I think that $50,000 2014 shortfall will grow"?

  • Troll is back

    Now that the Holgorsen issue has been put to rest by Mr. Luck maybe you should put forth the same effort to support our staff and players that you have on here downing them. It's time to get behind this team and help get them up to the top. The debate is over now let's show our support!

  • Dylan

    His buyout next year will still be $8M.

    • richard

      The buyout is not paid in one lump sum. If they would have fired him now, they would have to pay him $2plus mil a year until his contract runs out. It's not like they have to come up with it all at once.

      • Shadow

        Eight mils is eight mils except for inflation.

    • Shadow

      It may be that the solution is get rid of Luck. It wouldn't cost a much as 8 mils.

      • marcus

        Why? What has he really done wrong with the entire Ath-Prg? Having one losing season without a bowl doesn't warrant a AD getting fired.

        • Bonnie

          The AD has done major wrongs for the University and will be public knowledge soon....see how much you think of Luck then!!!!

        • Shadow

          With OL's illegal involvement in the Radio Rights, it would seem to me that the extension of DH contract should be investigated as a matter of fact. Who was involved in approving that extension and obligating $'s to it. To me, there is something fishy in Denmark.

          • Bonnie

            True Shadow!!!

  • Troll is back

    I hear the coaching position is secured at WVU next year so it's time to move on.

    • Big Larry

      The paid Holgorsen Troll is on the payroll so we expect him to say these things...

      • Bong Shavins

        Who pays you to be a douche pan rattler Larry ?

        • Steve

          Big Larry lives on welfare which means us hard working West Virginians pay for him to be a no good troll.

  • Red Dwarf

    First order of business must be strength and conditioning. By the end of each half, and even more pronounced in the fourth quarters, the team was gassed. Until the offense can stay on the field for more than a four plays, the defense will have to find away to keep their jaws off the ground, sucking wind, against long drives.

  • Scott

    Sounds exactly like, "you've got exactly 12 months to fix it hotshot"

    • JM


  • Ben

    I keep hearing excuses about how playing in the Big 12 is too tough. Iowa State and Kansas would finish last in the Conference USA and they both beat us!! Last I checked we got pounded by Syracuse 11 months ago. Also, we got shutout and dominated by a team we haven't lost to in a decade (Maryland) and they were one of the worst teams in the ACC. Our problem is far from the Big 12. The other excuse i hear is injuries and we were completely healthy when that ACC scrub kicked us in the mouth.

    • Steve

      Never heard anyone say that the Big 12 was too tough.

      • Ben

        You must have not listened to any of Holgorsen's interviews. He says hes "not making excuses" and proceeds to make the "Big 12" and "injuries" excuses. Like I said before, we weren't injured when we got shutout and smacked by the worst team in the ACC.

    • ricky

      The "Big 12 is tough" excuse flies out the window when you lose to Kansas, Iowa State and get blown off the field by Maryland.

      • Charleston,WV

        At least we didn't lose to Georgia Southern as Florida did this past week!

        • ron

          We didn't play Georgia Southern, we played Georgia State.

          • Charleston, WV

            I was referring to the state of mind that there program (U of Fla) most likely is in after losing to an FCS program such as Georgia Southern. In my opinion, two losses to FBS programs is not as bad one loss to an FCS program.

  • Dave

    I hear there is a coaching opening in Washington state...I was hoping we would be "LUCKy" and he would move on as he has NO desire to be a MOUNTAINEER!

    • 1smartone

      I think you mean Washington...not Washington State.

      • Larry

        I think he was just differentiating between Washington DC, and the state of Washington.

  • steve

    Jim Tressell-keep your phone close

    • jeepster

      huh? that would be a good hire,but you think he would want to come here? and then there's the 'minor' detail of $11 million.

      • richard

        Tressel can't coach for so many years. I forget the number.

    • Robin

      I would consider that. At least I bet he would wear a blue sweater vest!

  • richard

    So what if we win 6 next year? Is that good enough for Holgorsen to stay according to Mr. Luck. From the sounds of it, Luck is happy settling for mediocrity. By that, I mean the great feelings of disappointment will be tempered by the fall of next year, so maybe he thinks we'll be happy with a 6 win season next year.

    • Richard

      I think a good question for luck would be "how many losses are acceptable?"

    • Low Rider

      Ollie will take 6 regular season wins in 2014 provided we win our bowl game and finish 7-6. I think a 6-7 finish will result in a coaching change.

      • Harpers Ferry

        We won't even come close to 6 wins next year. Get ready for 3-9 or 4-8

        • richard

          Maybe 5.

  • The Great Joe Bob

    Sounds reasonable enough. I'm in.

  • Eric

    How do you go from at least 9-3 under coach stew and then 10-3 with stews players then go 6-6 and 4-8 sounds like the coach don't have a good eye for recruiting good players that shows in the last two years under holgerson

    • big tom

      guess you didn't notice , but we moved from a rinky dink conf. to big time football,, every week we played some far better teams than those in the big least

      • zero tolerance

        Ahhh the Big East excuse. KANSAS and IOWA STATE are football powerhouses of the Big 12 right?

        Pick up the needle dude your record is skipping again........again......again.......again......again.............

    • 1smartone

      His eye must be about as good as your English and math. We won 7 games last year. BTW...regardless of how bad Dana may or may not be as a coach, it doesn't make Stew any better as a coach.

      • MM

        Dude do you even understand college football??? Holgs has been here for 3 years meaning that the majority of the players he has had in those three years were Stewart's recruits. So how can you say he doesn't have an eye for talent when his guys are all freshman and sophomores, and shouldn't be playing and contributing that much yet anyways. Your point is completely invalid.

        • MM

          that was meant as a reply to Eric

          • Concerned

            Very true. We were not recruiting well under Stew. Most of the upper class men are his players and on top of it he cost us a few scholarships. Don't really like to compare the coaches too much seeing as how the circumstances are different. When someone says "stew was 9-3" it kind of infuriates me a bit. Because as much as the last two losses stung, they don't compare to the loss to Colorado with the team we had back then.

  • ricky

    Not a surprise. But I think it's a safe bet that one Dana Holgorsen is on the clock.

    • Fred

      Agreed. Give him one more year.