The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

May 5, 2011

Holgorsen brings energy to job

Red-Bull-drinking WVU offensive coordinator makes stop in Beckley

West Virginia offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen is just starting to make his way around West Virginia.

On Wednesday, he took the opportunity to look around, asking about the New River Gorge Bridge during his appearance at the 18th annual Sample Southern West Virginia Showcase, hosted by the  Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce.

Holgorsen was told the Fayette County landmark is the third largest arch bridge in the world as well as the second highest bridge in the country.

And, he was told about Bridge Day, and the BASE jumpers who jump off the edifice.

“I’m not doing that,” Holgorsen said. “I was just wondering if you could just pull over and look over the side.”

Fortunately for Mountaineer fans, West Virginia traditionally has a game on Bridge Day weekend.

Not even a few cases of the coach’s preferred drink, Red Bull energy drink, could entice the Mountaineer coach to take a plunge.

And his love for the drink — one of the first things delivered to his office were a couple cases of the beverage —  preceded him to Beckley, where he was presented with a Red Bull upon arrival.

“It just tastes good,” Holgorsen said of the drink. “You open one up, and it just tastes good. I just kind of got hooked on it. I’ve had those Java things before; I just prefer the taste of Red Bull.”

It’s just part of the coach’s daily ritual.

“I start in the morning with coffee and then switch to some sort of energy drink, typically Red Bull,” Holgorsen said. “It just keeps you going.”

He has had no problem keeping his offense going, and Mountaineer fans are ecstatic about Holgorsen’s hiring. In last Friday’s Gold-Blue game, the offense put up over 800 yards of offense. Obviously, those numbers are slanted, but fans got enough of a taste to highly anticipate the upcoming season, which starts on Sunday, Sept. 4, with a home game against Marshall.

And Holgorsen has seen that in his few stops around the state.

“It’s the challenge of any job,” said the coach, whose wide-open offense has been among the nation’s best over the last five years.

“The fact that you have people fired up about it — that’s good from a program standpoint, a season-ticket sales standpoint, from a fundraising standpoint.

“But that doesn’t change my job any. All the coordinator jobs I’ve had are the same. We try to put the system in place, and then we try to good at it.”

Holgorsen, who will succeed current coach Bill Stewart in 2012, was a hot commodity in the offseason and had a chance to be a head coach this season, including a potential job at WVU’s hated rival Pitt.

But the West Virginia job had some things the other places didn’t.

“The fact that you have people fired up about it — that’s good from a program standpoint, a season-ticket sales standpoint, from a fundraising standpoint.

“But that doesn’t change my job any. All the coordinator jobs I’ve had are the same. We try to put the system in place, and then we try to good at it.”

Holgorsen, who will succeed current coach Bill Stewart in 2012, was a hot commodity in the offseason and had a chance to be a head coach this season, including a potential job at WVU’s hated rival Pitt.

But the West Virginia job had some things the other places didn’t.

“The fact that you get to work for a guy like (WVU athletic director) Oliver Luck, and I had an opportunity to meet (WVU President) Dr. (James P.) Clements as well prior to taking the job,” Holgorsen said when asked what stood out about the WVU job. “To have guys like that as your superiors in a place where football is incredibly important and the program is not broke, so to speak. Having all those factors, it was a pretty easy decision.”

Although he is in line to take over the head coaching job, his relationship with current coach Bill Stewart is solid, Holgorsen said.

“I think our relationship is fine,” Holgorsen said. “He’s a professional guy, and he’s a nice guy. And I’m a professional guy, and I get along with people just fine.”

He is learning the ropes and expects to take several learned experiences, as well as the current one, with him when he takes the helm.

“I’ve taken a lot of traits from guys  like (former Texas Tech coach) Mike Leach, and (Houston coach) Kevin Sumlin and Bill Stewart to the point where I’m going to develop my own personality when it comes to being a head coach,” Holgorsen said. “But taking things from each one, I think, is important.”

His offense is likely to evolve at WVU, as it has at every step along his coaching path.

But his expectations are the same.

“We expect to move the ball and get first downs and score enough points to win every game,” Holgorsen said. “That’s what the expectations are at every level.”

Holgorsen, who will be in Summersville Thursday and will be back in Beckley at the WVU Caravan stop May 18-19, expects to see quite a bit of the state over the summer.

“You gotta get out and meet a bunch of people and create a lot of excitement for the season and the direction of the football program,” Holgorsen said.

Unless, of course, it involves jumping off a bridge.

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

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