The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

December 23, 2010

Holgorsen officially introduced

WVU offensive coordinator, coach-in-waiting welcomed at press conference

MORGANTOWN — Dana Holgorsen wasn’t seated 15 minutes before the talk about a national championship started.

Holgorsen, the Oklahoma State offensive coordinator who was hired by West Virginia in the same capacity before he takes the head coaching reins in 2012, was introduced to the West Virginia media Wednesday.

“You mean this isn’t the only place that wants a national championship?” Holgorsen joked. “It’s hard, and it’s a challenge, but if you’re at a place that has a chance to get that accomplished, you’re at the right place. We’ll work hard and do our best.”

Given the opportunity, Holgorsen quickly praised head coach Bill Stewart, whom he will replace in 2012, and Athletic Director Oliver Luck, who hired him, as the reason he is at West Virginia.

“The biggest thing is these two guys (Luck and Stewart),” Holgorsen said of why he came to WVU. “You want to go somewhere where you are surrounded by good people and where you are in a position to win football games.

“There are a lot of places out there that are facing an uphill battle as far as winning games. It’s not a perfect situation at other places. Here, it’s 60 wins in six years. You have a chance to win and be with some good people that are all focused on winning a championship. It was a pretty easy decision.”

Stewart said he envisions no problems in 2011, which will be a transition period.

“I’m very excited to stand here as the CEO of this football program and the West Virginia University family and tell you that Dana Holgorsen is a tremendous football coach, a very innovative coach and a heck of a person,” Stewart said. “I met him, and I was pleased with our meeting. We got along very well. I’ve watched him and his offenses, and we’re very excited about Dana coming on board as our offensive coordinator.

“This will be a very smooth transition. Our defensive staff will remain intact. Once Dana and I get back on Jan. 1, we’ll sit down and let him implement ideas and schemes in preparation of getting the finest offensive staff we can compile.”

Holgorsen’s offensive numbers are outstanding, ranking among the best in total offense, scoring and passing offense in the last five years at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State.

“Playing fast, tempo, having a good rhythm, moving the ball fast and making it very exciting is kind of what we’re about,” Holgorsen said. “If you do those three things, and you win, then you have fun. I never want to go to work and not have fun.

“I never want these kids to go out to practice or out to a game and not have fun. I think having a philosophy of keeping it loose and letting the guys be themselves, while also making sure you’re doing things right like playing smart, hard and fast, lets you have a chance of being successful.”

He said he isn’t ready to name additional assistant coaches he may bring in to the program.

Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel was mentioned several times by Holgorsen, Stewart and Luck during the press conference.

West Virginia was one of the nation’s top defenses this season, ranking in the Top 3 in several categories nationally.

“I want to keep Jeff Casteel happy,” Holgorsen said. “My job for a whole year is just to get the offense where we want it, then to keep him happy after that. Keep the offense the same, keep the defense the same and then just evaluate where I think things need to be at in a year and make as little changes as we possibly can.”

Luck envisions the Mountaineers climbing to the top of the mountain with the hire of Holgorsen.

“I’m very excited about the future of our football program with coach Stewart at the helm next year, alongside coach (Jeff) Casteel and our defensive staff,” Luck said. “With coach Holgorsen coming in, I think we just have a tremendous lineup for our coaches, and I think that will be reflected in our productivity and our results on the field.”

Holgorsen will return to OSU and coach in the Cowboys bowl game while Stewart and WVU prepare for N.C. State in the Champs Sports Bowl Tuesday in Orlando.

— E-mail: demorrison@register-herald.com

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