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Mike Casazza: Holgorsen getting the upgrades he sought

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Dana Holgorsen is going to get what he wants. That's not an opinion. It's a fact.Plans are in place at West Virginia for the football coach to have an addition built onto the team's headquarters at the Puskar Center that will function as the Mountaineers' meeting room.The one WVU uses now is cramped and dated and makes simple things like seeing around the tall or massive football player in front of you extremely difficult, which is a problem when a lot of the time in that room is spent watching film.This project, though, has nothing to do with the rant Holgorsen refreshed at his weekly press conference Tuesday, when he said he had a list of upgrades he wanted and that he didn't think he was being "unreasonable" to want better places to meet and practice.It sounded harsh, mostly because he called the indoor practice facility "dysfunctional" and then said WVU could only fix it if it were to "blow it up," but also because he'd lost to Kansas three days earlier and the Mountaineers will be at home for bowl season for the first time since 2001.But it wasn't a shot across the desk of Athletic Director Oliver Luck or a threat of any variety from the coach who is 11-13 since WVU joined the Big 12 and 6-11 in conference play."None of what he said was news to me," said Matt Borman, the executive director of the Mountaineer Athletic Club, which is the athletic department's fundraising group. "I've known those are items that he thinks need to be upgraded for months now." What Holgorsen never said, what he never allowed himself to explain, was that the Mountaineers are close to that new team room. He wasn't pushing for it because it turns out it's imminent - and that's Borman's word."We've been busy trying to find donors that are interested in this project," Borman said. "We've secured over $2 million in pledges right now and we've got some conversations going on that could finish that project soon hopefully."It's the item at the top of Holgorsen's list, but only because the MAC raised about $2.6 million to renovate the weight room last summer and about $350,000 before that to refurbish rooms for staff meetings inside the Puskar Center.
Those were the improvements Holgorsen wanted and witnessed previously, and now Borman said the MAC is working to have enough money pledged to cover the newest project that's going to cost about $5 million.Borman said the construction can start as soon as all the money is pledged to the project and that there remains a chance it could be finished in time for the 2014 season, though it seems more likely to happen in time for the 2015 season.Holgorsen, of course, would like it as soon as possible, but that would be a tight turnaround since the project requires building an extension off the southwest corner of the football complex. It's unlikely, though not impossible and not something the MAC has stopped thinking or talking about when they work with donors.  "We have a plan in place, and we have for some time now, about how we're planning on completing the next phase of football renovations," Borman said. "What Dana said Tuesday, to be honest, gives us some talking points."Maybe some people we've talked to have read about it in the newspaper or have heard what he had to say, and maybe that's a call to action for them, but at the end of the day, it's still our team's job to go out there and see the do what we can to get those pledges."
After that, Holgorsen can have artificial turf on the practice field that's now all grass and is good for all of two weeks before it's thoroughly trampled in the summer.That could happen sooner than a meeting room, not only because it's an easier project with a smaller price tag, but because that money is more likely to come from a source that isn't the MAC. Perhaps its conference revenue or income from IMG, but it doesn't make much sense to take from the MAC.The MAC would probably want donations aimed at the meeting room to get that finished promptly, but donors would probably want their money to go toward that, too. Really, would a donor rather take a son or a grandson on a tour of the artificial turf a donation made possible or would the little one be more impressed seeing the meeting room his dad or grandpa helped fund?As it stands now, the MAC is working solely on the new meeting room. It has some renderings to convince donors and prospective donors that their money is going to the right ideas. Those visions can close some deals and conceive others."Based on Dana's comments, everything I've heard is that not everyone can help, but they're at least very interested to hear or to see what our plan is to try to put this process in motion," Borman said. "They want to be a part of making sure that Dana has the facilities to be competitive."Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at or 304-319-1142. His blog is at
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