Football: Luck/Holgorsen Quotes
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - West Virginia University Athletic Director Oliver Luck and newly appointed head football coach Dana Holgorsen quotes from this evening’s press conference.
Opening Statement from Director Luck:
“Thank you Mike and good evening. Thanks for coming out. As you learned earlier today, Bill Stewart has stepped down as head coach of the West Virginia University Mountaineers. It was the right thing to do and you have a statement from me and coach Stew to that effect. I do want to thank him for his dedication to Mountaineer football.
Today we begin a chapter; a new chapter, with a new coach. Dana Holgorsen will still be running our offense and will assume the head coaching duties of the West Virginia University Mountaineers effective immediately. As I said when I introduced Dana, some months back as our offensive coordinator and head coach designate, he is ready for this challenge and understands the enormous responsibility that goes along with it. I have 100 percent confidence in coach Holgorsen and in our offensive and defensive assistant coaches. So with that, I would like to ask Dana to make some remarks and the two of us will take a handful of questions.
Opening Statement from Dana Holgorsen:
Thanks for being here, I know it was short notice on a Friday night, but we certainly appreciate it. I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to President (James) Clements and Oliver Luck for having the faith in me and this is a chance of a lifetime. I understand that and am extremely thankful for the opportunity to be here in front of you at this point now. I would also like to thank Bill Stewart for his service and dedication to the Mountaineer football program, the state of West Virginia and the University. It is much appreciated what he has accomplished and what he has done the last three years. Most importantly, I want to thank my three kids, McClayne, Logan and Carlyn, they mean the world to me and as do the rest of my friends and family.
Growing up in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, back in the 80s, a town of about 7,000 people, a job like this seemed unattainable. I remember watching coach (Don) Nehlen’s teams in the late 80s, back in that run in ’88 and ’89, when I was a junior and senior in high school, and he set the standard for what it’s like here both on and off the field and I look forward to living up to those standards as well. Many years later, here I am in Morgantown, W.Va. I’ve stopped in Oklahoma, West Texas, South Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina and I’m proud to be here in West Virginia. I understand what the expectations are to wear the Gold and Blue and those expectations, both on and off the field, are something I look forward to looking up to.
Mountaineer fans, alumni and former players; this is your team. The West Virginia University football team is way bigger than me, it’s way bigger than any former coach, former player or currently player, it’s way bigger than any of that. This is something that we need to live up to as players and coaches. It is the fans, the alumni and the former players’ team.
The timetable that was set back in December has been accelerated a little bit. I have complete confidence in the remaining defensive staff to continue to do what they’re doing. The offensive staff, as far as the guys I brought in to help get things rolling, none of that will change. We will be united as coaches. We will be united as players, administrators, as fans to help bring championships here to Morgantown.
Again, I am honored to have this opportunity in front of me and I look forward to many, many days of singing Country Roads to a whole bunch of wins here in the near future.
Will Mr. Stewart remain in any capacity and terms of contract?
No, he will not. We will pay coach Stewart sums that we were obligated to pay him under his existing contract. The terms of the separation agreement are confidential.
Will you comment on the allegations from this past week?
I’d rather not discuss any of the allegations or rumors that have been out there for the last couple of weeks. It’s in the past. We are focused on the future and building what has been a very successful Mountaineer program and even a better Mountaineer program.
The University was not able to substantiate any of the rumors and innuendos out there and I’d like to leave it at that because it’s all in the past and we are focused on moving forward and building a strong Mountaineer program. There was an investigation.
Does coach Holgorsen move into the coaching salary that he was supposed to be getting next year?
Yes he does.
At the time I thought it made a lot of sense and was a good management practice. With hindsight, folks could certainly disagree. I will take some time to think about it myself and decide if I made mistakes and, if I did, I will be the first one to acknowledge that I did.
At the time I thought it made some sense. I had an agreement from both coaches that they liked the idea and were willing to work with us on the concept, but hindsight is always 20/20 as we know.
With no charges against coach Stewart, why did you feel it necessary to seek his resignation?
I think it was a combination of things. The program, as Dana mentioned, is more important than any individual, any coach or any player and clearly, this was becoming a distraction for our football program. Having been a former student-athlete, I think the one thing you don’t want around any program are distractions. The totality of the circumstances, the totality of the innuendo and all the things that were being said, the distractions that I believe would not come to a close prompted me to sit down with coach Stewart over the past couple of days in a very frank and candid manner.
Will you stay on as head coach and offensive coordinator?
Yes I will. Going back to when Oliver and I talked about this arrangement, it was important to me to bring in a lot of guys that understood how I did things. I have those guys here and they understand how I do things, which means if I need to leave the room to go deal with this or that, they can keep working.
That doesn’t mean I am totally turning it over to anybody. I will still be on the sidelines and I will still be calling the plays, but I don’t need to spend 99 percent of my time as an offensive coordinator and that’s due to the fact that I have good quality assistants that can help keep the thing rolling day in and day out.
What are your plans for the future with hiring an offensive coordinator?
One game at a time; the first game is Marshall so we’ll deal with that one and look forward to the second game.
How do you feel about it playing out this way?
It’s all about looking to the future and to the next season. I’ve had my head down and I’ve been working diligently for the last six months and it isn’t going to change. For the next few weeks, I will work extremely hard trying to put our team in the best position I can to help win football games and coach (Jeff) Casteel will do the same thing defensively. We had a good, long talk today and yesterday as far as moving forward and doing the best that we can to put our respective sides of the ball in position to win football games.
Have you been able to address the team yet?
No. I’ve seen them most every day this week. I run into them in the hallway all the time and passing through the weight room when I’m getting a quick workout in. They’re working hard. Kids are resilient and change is always tough but it’s the least tough on kids. They wake up and they have a routine and they stay in the same routine.
Thought about hiring anyone with the spot open?
Not yet. I’ve given it some thought because I was going to have to cross this bridge in January. But I’m not going to make a quick decision. I want to do what’s best for the team right now.
I will say this, nothing will change offensively, nothing will change defensively and nothing will change from a special teams standpoint. We’re going to go on as we were the last practice in spring.
What changes for you?
Obviously changes from focusing strictly on offense to now focusing on the whole team. I went out of my way to try to get to know defensive guys and specialists. That needs to continue to happen.
What will your message be when you do talk to the team?
Stay the course. Nothing is really changing. We will still have the same strength workouts here for the next few weeks, led by Mike Joseph, we’re still going to have Dave Kerns healing the hurt guys, we’re still going to go to school and pass and once camp rolls around, we are still going to run the same offense, defense and special teams.
We’re going to keep pressing forward. The one thing that will be preached everyday is unity. Everyone is in this together, and that’s from a player’s standpoint, from a coach’s standpoint, from an administration standpoint and from a fan standpoint. Everyone needs to be in this together.
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