Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd

Time for change?

It’s currently early Sunday afternoon and there is an early Monday deadline this week due to the New Year’s Day holiday. That’s not especially important, but the topic today is West Virginia University head football coach Dana Holgorsen and how long he will remain in that capacity. There is serious chatter that Holgorsen may be leaving. If he is leaving, that news likely won’t be confirmed for another 48 hours, so another 24 hours likely won’t matter.
Holgorsen’s contact states if he leaves WVU before January 1, he will owe WVU $2.5 million. On January 1, that number drops to $1 million.
West Virginia’s 34-18 loss to Syracuse wasn’t even over before internet rumors surfaced that Holgorsen may be leaving WVU. As is often the case, these tidbits can be traced to someone just stirring the pot. It took a few hours, but some links to news sources in Houston began to surface indicating Houston was going to fire Major Applewhite and focus on hiring Holgorsen.
At first glance one would wonder why any coach would leave a Power Five school for a Group of Five school? Turns out there are some compelling reasons. Holgorsen has been an assistant there before and has a home in Houston. Apparently Holgorsen is friends with billionaire Tilman Fertitta who is a University of Houston backer and owns the Houston Rockets.  There is no reason to think Houston won’t be able offer Holgorsen more than his $3.8 million salary at WVU.
Sometime between the Oklahoma game and the Camping World Bowl it was reported that WVU and Holgorsen were close to agreeing to a contract extension, but it didn’t get signed. Now it seems Holgorsen may be using this Houston job to leverage WVU into a better contract. Also, remember there was an alleged flirtation between Holgorsen and Texas Tech back in November. At the time that story didn’t add up, but Holgorsen never denied it.
Could it be that WVU athletic director Shane Lyons is tired of being leveraged and calling Holgorsen’s bluff?
According to reports, Lyons and Holgorsen have broken off talks, which would seem to validate the rumors of a possible move to Houston. We should know Tuesday or Wednesday where Holgorsen will be coaching next season. For now, it appears Lyons has drawn a line in the sand, so Holgorsen can coach at West Virginia next season per his current contract, or pay WVU a million dollars and move on.
Personally, I’ve been supportive of Holgorsen, because I thought he was progressing as a head coach. He clearly was in over his head as a head coach when he was hired as head coach in waiting by Oliver Luck while Bill Stewart was the coach.
I’m now ready for new blood to lead the WVU football program. The three losses in a row to conclude this season and Holgorsen’s nonchalance about the loss in the post bowl game press conference sealed the deal.