By John Antonik for WVUsports.com
August 08, 2012 09:54 PM
Oliver Luck and Dana Holgorsen began talking about a long-term contract in the off-season following West Virginia’s 70-33 victory over Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl.
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Those discussions concluded today with Holgorsen signing a six-year deal that will take him through the 2017 season with the Mountaineers. The terms of this new agreement [$2.3 million this season with yearly raises in years two, three, four and five] will now put Holgorsen in line with some of the other top coaches in the Big 12 Conference, says Luck.
“Coach Holgorsen and West Virginia University have signed a contract, and it is a significant commitment from the University to Coach Holgorsen, and in turn, a significant commitment from Coach Holgorsen to the University,” said Luck. “We are very excited that Dana is making a long-term commitment to us, and we are excited about the season that is obviously rapidly approaching.”
Holgorsen had been working off a term sheet he signed when he was named offensive coordinator and “coach in waiting” since December of 2010. Luck said discussions on a new deal for the second-year coach had been in the works for a while.
“We began to talk seriously in the offseason,” Luck said. “There is no particular reason that it took as long as it did. We had set a goal of completion for camp. It was a natural course of events. It just takes a while to get these contracts completed.”
Holgorsen said his new contract helps the program expedite the process of achieving their long-term goals.
“I wake up, come to work and try to make it better every day,” said Holgorsen. “Oliver and the administration probably gets tired of me asking questions and asking how we can make things better on a daily basis, but my commitment has always been the same. When the University commits what it has to me and vice versa, it is a positive.”
Holgorsen said he didn’t know a great deal about West Virginia University before he arrived 18 months ago, but he has since grown to appreciate the interest and support he’s received from the top of the administration all the way down the ladder.
“With the leadership we have in place, I knew this was a place I wanted to stay with their support,” Holgorsen said. “You have to have everybody pulling in the right direction. I have been in athletic departments where people don’t get along and what I have witnessed around here is that different coaches and different sports get along. It seems like a win-win to me.”
It’s certainly a win-win in Luck’s eyes.
“As you all realize, since you are in this building fairly often, the head coach is the leader of our football department,” Luck explained. “A lot of people want to make long-term plans, and we think this is a good long-term strategy. This will help the stability of all the assistant coaches.
“This is not about just one person – it is a big group of people that make the football program successful, and Dana is the tip of that spear.”
As for the rest of the football staff, the second-year coach believes the pool of money currently available for his coaches is very much in line with the rest of the Big 12.
“Their contracts have been in pretty good shape since they have gotten here,” Holgorsen said. “When we looked at [comparable contracts] going from the Big East to the Big 12, our coaches were right on par. The way I viewed stability as an assistant coach was if the head coach had stability.”
And that is certainly not an issue after today’s announcement.
Now, Luck says Mountaineer Nation can look toward an even brighter future with Holgorsen locked up for the next six years.
“It’s been a good year, but it’s only been a year,” Luck said. “He is a tremendous coach and I would like for him to coach in Morgantown as long as he wants. He has a great track record as an assistant coach and as a head coach. Our recruiting is in great shape. We are very well received by the Mountaineer faithful, and our ticket sales are through the roof and a lot of that is attributed to Dana.”
“I am certainly satisfied, but I am nowhere near complacent,” he said. “We are going into a very competitive conference and we have a lot of respect for the Big 12 programs. It is going to be a real challenge to have the same success Mountaineer fans are accustomed to every year.
“It’s good to have high expectations because it drives these guys every day in practice.”
Full terms of Holgorsen’s new deal were released earlier today.