MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Twenty months after West Virginia hired him as an assistant football coach and 14 months after he was promoted to head coach, Dana Holgorsen has signed his contract.
It's a new one, too, finalized Wednesday morning with strokes from separate pens belonging to Holgorsen and WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck. Holgorsen, 41, will be paid up to $20.5 million in salary and incentives for the six-year term through the 2017 season.
"There are a lot of exciting things happening at West Virginia, not only in the football program, but with the athletic department and the university as a whole, and this adds to it, I think," Holgorsen said. "This not only affects me, it affects my children, it affects my whole staff, and not only the assistant coaches.
"We're working hard to make it better around here in the football office and the football program on a daily basis and this will expedite the process to help us achieve what our goals are."
WVU and Holgorsen had been bound to a terms and conditions sheet that he signed in December 2010 and wasn't amended once he became the head coach the following June.
"We began to talk seriously in the offseason," Luck said. "There's no specific reason for it taking this long. We set a goal for camp, before the season starts, to have a full contract finalized. It takes a while to get done, but we're all delighted that it's finished."
Holgorsen, who was went 10-3 with a share of the Big East Conference regular season championship and a victory in the Orange Bowl, was to be paid $1.725 million this season. He's now at a prorated salary of $2.3 million.
He'll receive a $100,000 raise after the second and third seasons and then a $200,000 raise after the fourth and fifth seasons. Holgorsen will have a $2.9 million salary in 2017 - $1.1 million more than former Coach Rich Rodriguez made in his most lucrative season.
Additionally, Holgorsen will receive a $75,000 retention incentive every Dec. 8 that he is the team's head coach through 2017. On March 1, 2013, he'll receive a separate $50,000 retention incentive. On, March 1, 2014, he'll receive another separate retention incentive, that one for $300,000.
Between the $200,000 raise to a $2.7 million salary and the pair of retention incentives, WVU will dangle $575,000 before Holgorsen to keep him as the head coach for the 2014 season.
"It's a very fluid market and I believe that Coach Holgorsen is going to be a coach who will be in demand," said Luck, who hired Holgorsen from the Oklahoma State coaching staff in December 2010 and immediately made him WVU's coach-in-waiting. "He's young, innovative and has a great track record of success in a very difficult conference at Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, and even the University of Houston (in Conference USA).