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Holgorsen expected to join WVU football staff soon

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A definitive statement regarding the future of the West Virginia football program and Coach Bill Stewart will come soon and perhaps before the end of the week.

The announcement is expected to involve Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen joining the Mountaineers' staff in some capacity, multiple sources close to the situation tell Charleston Daily Mail.

Holgorsen, 39, and WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck worked out the arrangement last week after an initial meeting between the two was canceled earlier this month.

The two sides are said to be working toward a formal contract. Sources said the plan is for a six-year contract in which Holgorsen is a contract for the final five years.

According to the website OStateIllustrated.com, Holgorsen has agreed to a $750,000 deal at WVU for 2011, and then around $2 million annually once he becomes head coach in 2012. 

The sources said Holgorsen will be invited on as the offensive coordinator beginning next season and the next in line to be head coach after Stewart.

The sources said Stewart will step aside after the 2011 season and transition into a role in the athletic department.

However, separate sources say Stewart is not comfortable with having an offensive coordinator forced upon him and could resist working with a coach-in-waiting. Stewart was traveling Tuesday to appear at a Pittsburgh-area banquet and then to Florida to recruit.

Holgorsen, who has not been a head coach, has given assurances he'll allow the current defensive staff to return to WVU after the 2011 season, the final season of the two-year contracts all assistants work with at WVU.

Oklahoma State (10-2) plays Arizona in the Alamo Bowl Dec. 29 in San Antonio. Holgorsen worked only this past season with the Cowboys, but engineered an offense that finished No. 1 nationally in total offense, No. 2 in passing offense and No. 3 in scoring offense.

Last season Oklahoma State was Nos. 70, 99 and 56 in those categories, respectively, while Holgorsen worked as the offensive coordinator at Houston. His Cougars led the nation in all three categories.

Holgorsen was a candidate for the Pitt job vacated by Dave Wannstedt's resignation, but Pitt reportedly passed. He's nevertheless coveted because of his offensive acumen.

Holgorsen worked from 2000-07 at Texas Tech for Coach Mike Leach -- regarded as holgorsen's mentor -- and was the co-offensive coordinator the final three years. He worked the next two seasons at Houston, where Luck lived and worked as the general manager of the Major League Soccer franchise, the Houston Dynamo.

Stewart is completing the third year in a six-year deal. He's making $900,000 this season and his pay increases $50,000 in each of the remaining years. Holgorson was making $195,000 at Houston and $360,000 at Oklahoma State.

Stewart's future began to dissolve after the Mountaineers lost at home Oct. 23 to Syracuse, 19-14. WVU had not lost to the Orange since 2001. Six days later, WVU lost on the road at UConn, 16-13 in overtime, after winning all six games in the series.

The Mountaineers committed three turnovers against the Orange and four while fumbling seven times against the Huskies. They had not lost two straight conference games since 2004.

A movement to make a change began with WVU in last place. Luck and Holgorsen were to meet in Texas after the regular season ended, but that meeting was scrubbed, presumably with Stewart's strong finish to the season serving as the cause.

Stewart, 58, was WVU's interim coach after his predecessor, Rich Rodriguez, left for Michigan in December 2007. Stewart led the Mountaineers to a 48-28 victory against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl and was hired in the hours that followed.

He was 9-4 in his first two seasons with a 1-1 record in bowl games. The Mountaineers were 9-3 this season tied Connecticut and Pitt for the Big East title with a 5-2 conference record.

WVU will play in the Champs Sports Bowl Dec. 28 against North Carolina State (8-4), in Orlando, Fla., although there is no indication what the staff will look like leading up to the game.

The Mountaineers have an offensive coordinator in Jeff Mullen, who was thought for a time to be a candidate for the vacant head coaching position at Kent State. Mullen joined the staff after Stewart hired offensive line coach Dave Johnson, running backs/slot receivers coach Chris Beatty and fullbacks/tight ends coach Doc Holliday, who is now Marshall's head coach.  

Mullen worked with three different starting quarterbacks in his first three seasons.

The offense enjoyed its greatest success in the final four games of the season, though, as WVU recovered from the consecutive losses to win out and get a share of the conference title. The Mountaineers totaled 42 points in their 1-2 start in Big East play, but averaged 31 points and 390 yards of offense in the winning streak.

Mullen's offense only scored 35 or more points nine times in 28 games, but three of those came in the last four games.


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