By: Michael Walker
Originally published at BlueGoldSports.com
Is this the year that Head Football Coach Dana Holgorsen must produce a winning season or face replacement by Athletic Director Oliver Luck? Luck has not come right out and said it, but history says yes.
Consider the Mountaineer coaches Luck has already fired for not producing to his satisfaction. He has dismissed five head coaches and one longtime assistant in various sports including football. Why should Coach Holgorsen be any different?
Did anyone see Bill Stewart’s replacement being immediately hired upon Luck’s arrival after Stewart had three 9-3 seasons and a win over Oklahoma? How about Head Wrestling Coach Craig Turnbull?
Did anyone really see him getting the axe after 36 years, apparently without warning? How about Head Baseball Coach Greg Van Zant? After the football team’s second half of the season collapse in 2012 and 4-8 in 2013, what makes Holgorsen exempt from being replaced with a talented and now experienced team?
I say nothing. At the end of the disastrous 2013 season along with a humiliating loss to Kansas, Luck’s endorsement of Holgorsen was about as weak as Oliver Luck gets. You do not go into a season saying ‘win or else’ in public.
Although Bob Hertzel used it to criticize Oliver Luck, his answer when asked about Holgorsen keeping his job if the Mountaineers lose again in 2014 was:
“What I want to see this year is improvement in all of the areas that you have in a football program, and Dana and the staff know that,”
The implication by Hertzel was, that since Luck hired Holgorsen it would somehow reflect upon the athletic director if the head football coach failed. Supposedly that makes Holgorsen exempt from being replaced in some people’s minds.
Holgorsen has been given everything he could ask for in new facilities as fast as they can be built, plus he was allowed to tweak his assistant coaches again.
Luck has also provided Holgorsen a defensive safety net in Coach Tom Bradley for 2014. Coach Bradley’s title and front loaded contract are custom made for him to assist WVU to the next level while he tops off his resume’ as a head coaching candidate for the future.
Attendance is already down and many fans and supporters are losing patience. Holgorsen is expected to at least have a winning season in 2014 and there will be no excuses if he does not.
Even the Head Coach admits the team is three deep at most positions and he obviously has full faith in a now healed starting quarterback with a year in the system.
It appears to have been spelled out to Holgorsen that he must win or leave and he has accepted the challenge.
If WVU doesn’t have a winning season this year, I see very little doubt that he will be replaced at the end of 2014. There are a few donors who would pay the contract buyout already. Winning cures everything, though.
Photo credit: Post-Gazette.com