Reports came out on Tuesday that former Houston and current Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen is leaving the Cowboys to become the offensive coordinator at West Virginia. According to the report, current head coach Bill Stewart would coach the team in 2011, and Holgorsen would replace him in 2012.
If true, Holgorsen would be leaving for his third different school in three years, and fourth in the last five, but I really like the hire, and could see him sticking with the Mountaineers in the long run. First, West Virginia plays stout defense, and the defensive side of the staff is likely to stay in place. Second, nothing I've seen suggests anything other than that Dana Holgorsen is one of the top two or three offensive minds in college football today.
Holgorsen was the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech under MIke Leach, and left to take the same job at Houston, assuming the play-calling duties, something Leach handled for the Red Raiders. In his two years with the Cougars, UH scored 40+ points per game, including leading the nation in passing, total and scoring offense in 2009.
Before Holgorsen arrived on the scene, Case Keenum had a career 14-10 TD-INT ratio, and it wasn't even a sure thing that he would start the next year. By the time Holgorsen (who was also the quarterbacks coach) left, Case Keenum was, well, Case Keenum.
OSU, having seen Holgorsen's prowess first hand in a shocking upset loss to the Cougars, decided, if you can't beat 'em, get 'em to join you, and hired him away as OC. With just four returning starters on the offensive line, even guru Phil Steele predicted that the Cowboys would finish last in the Big XII south, and have a losing season. Despite breaking in a new quarterback, Oklahoma State (stop me when you've heard this one before) led the nation in total offense, and scored a hair under 45 points per game, on their way to a 10-2 record.
If I'm coming off like a total Dana Holgorsen fanboy, well, I kind of am. The man has his limitations, don't get me wrong. He's not a notably strong recruiter, he's never coached the defensive side of the ball, and his personality isn't a good fit for every school. He doesn't always like talking to the media, and he does some things (like go drink in the stands with fans during blowouts) that will rub some fan bases the wrong way. But I think West Virginia is the kind of place that will appreciate his eccentricity, and have a strong enough support system around him that he doesn't have to worry about the defense. Frankly, I'd almost be surprised if West Virginia isn't contending for a national title at some point during Holgorsen's stay.