One year and five days after he agreed to become West Virginia's football coach-in-waiting, and a little more than six months after he was elevated to the top job, Dana Holgorsen still hasn't signed a formal contract.
As they used to say on Seinfeld: "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
However, the memorandum of agreement - also known as a term sheet - Holgorsen negotiated last Dec. 14 with Athletic Director Oliver Luck has been secure enough to do the deal.
It's a very good one for the coach, and not just because he's getting a $75,000 incentive for heading to a Bowl Championship Series game, and will land another $50,000 if the Mountaineers beat Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
The deal includes some language - and doesn't include what could be a crucial clause - that really favors the rookie head coach down the road.
Quizzed about that over the past weekend, Luck said he expected to talk with Holgorsen's agent, Jeff Nalley of Select Sports Group in Houston, as soon as this week to continue working toward what Luck called the "final version" of the contract.
Holgorsen, who has guided WVU (9-3) to its first Orange Bowl date, has what amounts to a six-year, $11.5 million base and supplemental contract. That figure includes his contract adjustments and pro-rated 2011 salary after replacing Coach Bill Stewart in June.
The questions I had for Luck on the contract revolved around the buyout clauses and the fact that the document lacks what most call a "non-compete clause" as appears in recent WVU coaches' contracts for Bob Huggins, John Beilein, Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart.
That clause prevents a coach from leaving for - as Huggins' document states - "employment with another Big East Conference school or any other conference in which the university is a member, in any coaching capacity, prior to termination date."
When asked whether Holgorsen's deal has a non-compete clause, Luck answered, "No," and said the matter "has not been discussed with Dana or his representatives." The AD, also a lawyer, said a non-compete clause is "an issue that could be on the horizon. It just hasn't been raised yet."
My thought is this:
Had West Virginia stayed in the Big East, I think there was slim to no chance of Holgorsen leaving West Virginia for another program in the conference.
With the Mountaineers destined for the Dallas-based Big 12 - and perhaps not long after that Jan. 4 Orange Bowl it will become official - I think the chances for Holgorsen leaving WVU are heightened, considering his recent coaching history in the league and Lone Star State.
"At the end of the day," Luck said, "I'm delighted Dana is steering our ship into the Big 12. He's been there and knows what it's all about."
A non-compete clause would seem to be essential, especially in a deal with a young coach whose offensive acumen got him the WVU job in the first place.
The two-way buyouts are another matter that got my scrutiny. Using some recent WVU coaching contractual history, the Huggins and Rodriguez buyouts were dollar-for-dollar under "termination without cause" clauses - as in someone goes because of a bad record, not bad deeds.