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Philip Maramba: If I could write my own contract

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - It's nice work if you can get it.

This week, West Virginia University head football coach Dana Holgorsen signed a new contract to keep him at the school through 2017.

With incentives, the deal is worth a cool $20.5 million, which is a huge contract by WVU standards, but only seventh-best in the Big 12 Conference. I guess everything really is bigger in Texas — and Oklahoma.

As if about $2 million a year to coach football isn't enough, I liked the benefits that were included in the package:

* Two courtesy cars. (My understanding, though, is that he has a driver to shuttle him around, which I suppose relieves him of the stress of texting recruits while driving.)

* As many as 25 football tickets per game. (I'd always thought the view from the sideline, or even the coaches box above the stadium, was pretty sweet.)

* A club membership at Lakeview Resort. (Our WVU beat writer says Coach Holgorsen rarely plays golf outside of fundraisers.)

* A $5,000 athletic apparel budget. (Shoot, I'd have figured his friends at Nike paid him to wear those cool black golf shirts.)

Upon hearing the details of his contract, one of my colleagues remarked, "Philip, I think somewhere along the line we lost our way."

I agreed. Maybe I should have paid more attention in my phys ed classes instead of toiling at my chemistry and Latin.

While I enjoy my work, I can think of a few things I'd like to work into a contract that would keep me here for as long as my employers wanted me. ("As long as they'll have me" is coachspeak. Learned that one from Rich Rodriguez.)

I could even work at my present salary if I could have a handful of "benefits" tacked onto the deal:

* One courtesy car. It wouldn't even have to be updated every year. I'd be happy with a new one, say, every three years. And I'd only use it for work. Really. Especially if it were a convertible. In British racing green.

* Season tickets for WVU football games. I'd settle for two. I won't be picky. They could be at the 40-yard line, on the west gate. (Well, I'd like to be able to watch the band play at halftime facing me.)

* Free gym membership. Not that I'd use it. I'd just like to know I could swim indoors anytime I wanted.

* Gift certificates for Banana Republic. I'm in middle management, so it would be nice to refresh the wardrobe with clothes that are nice, but not too nice.

At the press conference announcing his new deal, Holgorsen said, "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."

After my contract comes to pass, those would be my words exactly. Except I'd substitute "newspaper" for "football."

And therein lies the difference between Coach Holgorsen and me: He got his contract because his forte is making the pigskin fly; if I ever get my deal, pigs really will fly.

Contact writer Philip Maramba at 304-348-4815 or


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