West Virginia University is looking for a new football coach after the University of Houston and Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen reportedly agreed early Tuesday to bring Holgorsen in as the new coach of the Cougars.
His eight-year tenure in Morgantown was full of highs and lows. Below is a chronicle of the sometimes tumultuous Holgorsen era.
Dec. 22, 2010 – Holgorsen is named the new offensive coordinator for Bill Stewart. Then-athletic director Oliver Luck said Holgorsen would ascend to the head coaching job in the 2012 season.
May 18, 2011 – Holgorsen reportedly is escorted out of the Mardi Gras Casino in Cross Lanes after becoming uncooperative with management. Luck acknowledged “inappropriate behavior” happened that night and Holgorsen apologized for the incident, though the university did not specify the behavior that led to the incident.
June 10, 2011 – Holgorsen ascends to the head coaching job after Stewart resigns. A former newspaper reporter claimed Stewart had contacted him to “dig up dirt” on Holgorsen.
Luck said he had several “frank and candid conversations” with Stewart concerning “rumors and innuendo,” and Stewart resigned during a meeting with Luck.
Jan. 4, 2012 – After earning a share of the Big East title, Holgorsen leads WVU into the Orange Bowl against Clemson.
The Mountaineers’ 70-33 win broke or tied several bowl records, including most team touchdowns (10), most total points (70), most points in a quarter (35) and most points in a half (49). West Virginia finishes the season at 10-3.
Dec. 29, 2012 – WVU loses the Pinstripe Bowl, 38-14, to Syracuse, completing a disappointing collapse. Despite a team that included future NFL players Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, and despite starting the season 5-0 and climbing to No. 5 in the Associated Press poll, West Virginia loses five straight mid-season games, falls out of the poll and struggles against the Orange to finish 7-6.
Nov. 16, 2013 – In what is likely the low point of Holgorsen’s tenure in Morgantown, West Virginia loses at Kansas, 31-19, allowing the Jayhawks to snap a 27-game conference losing streak. That loss was part of a 4-8 season for the Mountaineers, the only losing season in Holgorsen’s time as WVU’s coach.
Oct. 18, 2014 – The Mountaineers smash No. 4 Baylor 41-27 at Puskar Stadium. It was the third top-five team West Virginia had faced that season. WVU finished that campaign at 7-6 with a loss to Texas A&M in the Liberty Bowl.
Jan. 2, 2016 – West Virginia enjoys one of two bowl victories during Holgorsen’s tenure, a 43-42 win over Arizona State in the Cactus Bowl. WVU finishes the 2015 season at 8-5.
Dec. 3, 2016 – WVU defeats Baylor 24-21 to ensure its second 10-win season under Holgorsen. The only other West Virginia coaches with multiple 10-win seasons are Don Nehlen and Rich Rodriguez. After that game, athletic director Shane Lyons announces a five-year contract extension that would pay Holgorsen an average of $3.5 million annually. The Mountaineers lost to Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl to finish 10-3 and No. 18 in the AP poll, the second time WVU finished in the AP top 25.
Nov. 3, 2018 – Quarterback Will Grier hits Gary Jennings for a 33-yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds left in the game, then runs in a two-point conversion to beat Texas in Austin. That win pushed the Mountaineers back into the AP top 10 at No. 7.
Nov. 29, 2018 – After rumors circulate that Holgorsen sought and was rebuffed for the open Texas Tech job, Lyons releases a statement saying Holgorsen “has made it very clear to me that he wants to be the head football coach at West Virginia University.,,, I want him here at WVU and intend to keep working with him and his staff to improve and bring a Big 12 Championship to Morgantown.”
Dec. 8, 2018 – Grier finishes fourth in this past year’s Heisman Trophy voting, the best finish since Steve Slaton ended up fourth in 2006. Earlier that day, Grier announced that he would not play in the Camping World Bowl, instead preparing for the upcoming NFL draft.
Dec. 28, 2018 – WVU stumbles to the finish for the second straight season, losing its final three games, The Mountaineers are outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter to lose to Syracuse 34-18 and end the season at 8-4. It was West Virginia fifth bowl loss in seven trips under Holgorsen.
Dec. 31, 2018 – After days of rumors that Houston was circling Holgorsen for its open head football job, the Cougars ask for and receive permission to talk to Holgorsen for the job. Holgorsen spent two seasons at Houston as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, gaining a fan in Houston super-booster Tillman Fertitta.
Jan. 1 – Discussions between Holgorsen and Houston apparently didn’t go on for long. Right after the ball dropped to ring in the new year, reports started coming out that Holgorsen was going to be a Cougar. He leaves WVU with a 61-41 overall record and 2-5 record in bowl games.