Just recently, universities have begun to hire or promote a coach to work as an assistant for the time being with the intention for that person to take over as head coach in the future. We have seen it with Joker Phillips at Kentucky, Bret Bielema at Wisconsin, as well as Will Muschamp at Texas, but Phillips and Bielema actually took over the top spot while Muschamp left his coach-in-waiting post at Texas to become head coach at Florida last week. Wednesday afternoon, West Virginia announced that they have hired Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator, Dana Holgorsen, to join the staff for the upcoming 2011 season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and then to become head coach in 2012. The Mountaineers’ current head coach Bill Stewart, who succeeded Rich Rodriguez three seasons ago, has done a great job since taking over the program but he is set to take an administrative role with the university after the 2011 season. Although Holgorsen is going from a more superior conference, the Big XII, to the Big East, this opportunity was simply too good to pass up on. He saw it as a chance to take a quality program to the next level and compete for national championships year in and year out. He has been successful wherever he has coached, so for the sake of West Virginia, let’s hope he can continue that in Morgantown.
Dana Holgorsen joined The Sports Animal in Oklahoma City to talk about how the position came about at West Virginia, how the plan to succeed Bill Stewart is going to work out being the coach-in-waiting, and whether landing a head coaching position happened earlier than he thought.
How the position came about at West Virginia:
“It is what it boils down to, you just put yourself in a good situation and I felt like Oklahoma State was a good position coming into, established program. If you win good those will happen so fortunately for me and fortunately for Oklahoma State that is what happened this year.
How the plan to succeed Bill Stewart is going to work out being the coach-in-waiting:
“Well the first thing is taking care of business right now. They have got to take care of their business up there with the current coaches that they have and go try to win a tenth game and I am going to do my best for Coach Gundy and try to get to a point where Oklahoma State will win 11 games, then when January rolls around I will switch my attention to learning as much as I can on West Virginia. It is a little bit unchartered territory for me and the thing about Bill Stewart, he has been there for a long, long time and he cares about the university and he is always going to be there for the rest of his life, so he can give me the lay of the land and try and just teach me what is important up there. The one guy that was very instrumental and knows an awful lot who is known across the country as being a pretty important guy and he played at West Virginia and he is the Athletic Director at West Virginia and he was the guy that I dealt with the last couple of weeks as far as making this happen.”
If he is going to be able to hire his own staff:
“Yeah I trust Oliver Luck. Like I said, I have had a bunch of conversations with him and our relationship right now is really strong and I anticipate that to be the same. They have got a new president and everybody is on the same page as far as what needs to happen to take the next step. They have been pretty successful in the past and our job is to evaluate the whole situation and figure out what kind of changes we need to make and gradually do it. It is not something that is going to happen overnight. It is going to be a deal where I have committed to five years, I got really a six-year deal. It is a big commitment on their end it is a big commitment on my end and I am going to go up there and commit to it and eventually get it to where we want it.”
Whether landing a head coaching position happened earlier than he thought:
“I hadn’t really thought about that. Like I said earlier, you got to focus on the task at hand. I focused on winning games for Oklahoma State this year and didn’t worry about anything else. If you do it for the job that you have and give it everything you have got, you are successful then good things will happen. That is always the way that I approached it one practice at a time, one week at a time, one game at a time, one job at a time and if you approach it that way then good things will happen.”