West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen enters his second year as the head coach of the Mountaineer football program. He now has the added responsibility of leading the football program to a new conference home in the Big 12.
Holgorsen’s first season as a head coach was nothing short of outstanding.
Under his direction, the Mountaineer program finished with an overall record of 10-3, earned their sixth BIG EAST Conference championship since 2003 and seventh overall and was awarded the league’s BCS Bowl bid for the third time. Holgorsen became the onlyWest Virginiahead coach to either win a conference championship or win 10 games in his first season.
The first-year head coach of the year honoree by the Football Writers Association of America was one of seven first-year head coaches to lead his program to a BCS Bowl game, was one of three to win the game and the only first-year WVU head coach to win a BCS Bowl game.
The Mountaineers’ 10 wins in 2011 tied for the fourth-most wins by a first-year head coach among NCAA I-A coaches. Holgorsen also became the fourthWest Virginiahead coach to lead his squad to a bowl appearance and earn a win in the game in his first year as a head coach.
West Virginiaran its string of nine or more win seasons to seven, making them one of three schools to boast that accomplishment. The Mountaineers were ranked in the national polls for 13 of the 16 weeks during the season, and climbed as high as No. 11. WVU finished with 10 All-BIG EAST honorees, including the league’s special teams’ player of the year and three players being named to seven All-American teams.
West Virginiaboasted only the fourth set of 1,000-yard receivers in college football in 2011 and was one of only two schools, along withHouston, to have a 4,000-yard passer and two 1,000-yard receivers.
WVU finished No. 6 nationally in passing offense, No. 13 in scoring offense and No. 15 in total offense. The Mountaineer offense ranked No. 67 in total offense in 2010, the year before Holgorsen arrived, and he took it to No. 15 in 2011.
One of his star pupils, quarterback Geno Smith, the Discover Orange Bowl MVP, had his best season and is considered not only one of the top quarterbacks in the nation but one of the top players.
Smith completed a single-season school record 346-of-526 passes for 4,385 yards and 31 touchdowns. His 4,385 yards were the most passing yards by a Mountaineer or a BIG EAST quarterback in a season.
Wide receiver and special teams’ demon, Tavon Austin, a first team all-conference receiver, collected a school-record 101 catches for 1,186 yards and eight touchdowns. Stedman Bailey, also an all-conference receiver as well, collected a school-record 1,279 yards and tied the school record with 12 touchdowns.
The Dana Holgorsen era officially began on June 10, 2011, when he was named the school’s 33rd head football coach. Since that time, he has been non-stop in his efforts to tell anyone who will listen what Mountaineer football has to offer and what lies ahead for the program.
From the time he was named head coach in June, he spent countless hours spreading his philosophy that no one person was bigger than the team; and through hard work, dedication, teamwork and fulfilling your responsibility on and off the field, the West Virginia football program will continue to achieve success.
Holgorsen arrived inMorgantownin December 2010, bringing with him a highly successful resume, which included a fast-paced, high-flying, top-shelf scoring offense with national appeal that Mountaineer nation wanted so badly for its program.
The players bought into his plan during the spring, as he and his staff installed the system. By the end of April, the offense scheme had shown signs of a complete transformation, looking completely different than it had in previous years.
Fast-forward six months from that initial meeting in December and the reins of the entire Mountaineer program are entrusted to Holgorsen. Since his hiring, he has been working hard to unite the Mountaineer Nation from the coaches to the players, administrators and the fans.
Before coming toMorgantown, Holgorsen spent the 2010 season as the offensive coordinator atOklahomaState. He was a finalist for the 2010 Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant football coach, and also named the rivals.com Offensive Coordinator of the Year.
The Cowboys led the nation in total offense during the regular season and finished No. 2 in passing offense and No. 3 in total and scoring offe e. OSU averaged 520.23 yards per game in total offense, including 345.9 passing yards and 44.23 points per game.
OklahomaState’s offense ranked No. 61 nationally in total offense in 2009, the year before Holgorsen arrived, and he took it to the No. 1 spot during the 2010 season. He was a vital member of the coaching staff, helping lead the Cowboys to a school-record 10 wins during the regular season and a win in the Valero Alamo Bowl, after preseason predictions had OSU near the bottom of the Big 12 Conference.
Postseason accolades rolled in for Holgorsen’s offensive players as quarterback Brandon Weeden became the first OSU passer to earn first team all-Big 12 honors. He was a finalist for the Manning Award, given to the top quarterback in the nation.
Receiver Justin Blackmon won the 2010 Biletnikoff Award, given to the top receiver in the nation, and running back Kendall Hunter was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back.
Weeden, Hunter and Blackmon became only the second trio in NCAA history to pass for at least 3,000 yards, run for more than 1,500 yards and finish with more than 1,500 yards receiving in the same season.
Prior to OSU, Holgorsen was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach atHouston. During his two-year tenure with the Cougars, his offenses once again put up explosive numbers, accounting for 563 yards of total offense per game, passing for 433.7 yards per game and totaling more than 42.2 points per game. His offense ranked No. 3 in total offense in 2008 and No. 1 in 2009.
His quarterback, Case Keenum, led the nation in total offense in 2008 and 2009, totaling 403.2 yards per game as a sophomore and 416.4 yards his junior season. He also ranked among the Top 10 nationally in pass efficiency both years.
Before his two-year stint with the Cougars, Holgorsen was a member of the coaching staff at Texas Tech from 2000-07, serving as the inside receivers coach from 2000-04, before being elevated to co-offensive coordinator in 2005 and offensive coordinator in 2006-07.
During his time inLubbock, his offenses increased the amount of yardage from 324.8 yards of total offense to 529.6, an increase of more than 200 yards per game. The Red Raiders were No. 7 nationally prior to Holgorsen becoming offensive coordinator and raised their yardage total to No. 4 in 2005, his first season directing the offense. In his two years as offensive coordinator, his squad was nationally ranked No. 8 in 2006 and No. 3 in 2007.
In 2007, Texas Tech led the nation in passing (470.31), was No. 2 in total offense (529.62) and was No. 7 in scoring offense (40.9). Quarterback Graham Harrell led the nation in total offense and Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree led the nation in receptions per game and receiving yards per game.
In 2006, the Red Raiders ranked No. 3 nationally in passing offense and No. 6 in total offense. Harrell once again was outstanding, finishing No. 3 nationally in total offense with 344.38 yards per game. Texas Tech led the nation in passing in 2005, was No. 4 in scoring offense (39.4) and No. 6 in total offense (495.83). Quarterback Cody Hodges was No. 2 in the nation with 396.08 yards per game.
Holgorsen also spent time atValdostaState(1993-95) as the quarterbacks, receivers and special teams coach,MississippiCollege(1996-98) as the quarterbacks, receivers and special teams coach and at Wingate (1999) as the quarterbacks and receivers coach.
While atValdostaStatein 1994, Chris Hatcher won the Harlon Hill Trophy, the NCAA Division II Player of the Year award, by the second largest vote margin in the 17-year history of the award. Hatcher won the award after throwing for 4,076 yards and 55 touchdowns, against just 10 interceptions, while completing 367 of 508 passes. Hatcher led Division II in passing efficiency during the regular season and directed VSU to its first Division II postseason appearance.
During his coaching career, his teams have earned 11 bowl appearances. Three of his top pupils, Crabtree (San Francisco49s), Harrell (Green Bay Packers) and Wes Welker (New England Patriots) are in the National Football League.
Holgorsen, a native ofMt. Pleasant,Iowa, graduated from Iowa Wesleyan in 1993, and earned his master’s degree fromValdostaStatein 1995. He was a three-year letterwinner as a wide receiver at Iowa Wesleyan, finishing his career No. 5 on the school’s all-time receiving yards list with 1,711 yards and sixth in all-time receptions with 145.
He has three children, McClayne, Logan and Karlyn.