MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Texas Tech officials reportedly are targeting West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen as a replacement for Kliff Kingsbury, who was fired Sunday after six seasons.
Sources at West Virginia did not confirm Holgorsen’s mutual interest in the Red Raiders’ job, especially considering he’s also on the radar for vacancies at Colorado and Louisville.
Holgorsen would owe the university $2.5 million if he leaves for another job before Dec. 31, and $1 million thereafter.
Kingsbury was notified of his dismissal after Saturday’s 35-24 loss to Baylor, which sealed Texas Tech’s third consecutive losing season. The school made the firing official Sunday, with athletics director Kirby Hocutt saying Kingsbury “worked very hard and represented us in a first-class manner.”
Kingsbury finished with a 35-40 record at Texas Tech, including 19-35 in Big 12 games. Holgorsen was an assistant at Texas Tech from from 2000-2007, including three seasons as co-offensive coordinator. His West Virginia teams beat Texas Tech each of the last five years.
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that Hocutt has Holgorsen on his short list of preferred candidates, along with 61-year-old Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt and Utah State coach Matt Wells.
Kingsbury earned $3.7 million this season, while Holgorsen’s deal at West Virginia paid him $3.6 million. In December 2016, the Mountaineers signed Holgorsen to a contract extension through 2021.
After dropping its last two regular-season games, West Virginia (8-3, 6-3) fell to fourth place in the Big 12 and likely will settle for a trip to the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio or the Texas Bowl in Houston.
Holgorsen stands 61-40 overall in eight seasons with the Mountaineers, and 33-30 in the Big 12. His record against ranked teams fell to 10-20 with Friday night’s 59-56 loss to No. 6 Oklahoma.
Hocutt, who hired Kingsbury in 2012, promised Texas Tech fans that he would find the right coach to elevate the program:
“We will be elite in football again. I guarantee you, we will be elite in football again. This program has been there before and we’ll get there again. We will bring back our edge.”