WVU makes it official: Holgorsen in as coach-in-waiting

11 Comments

The rumors from the past 24 hours have come to fruition.

Dana Holgorsen will become West Virginia’s next head coach.  Eventually.

According to a press release issued by the school, Holgorsen will join the Mountaineer football coaching staff as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 2011 season, before becoming WVU’s 33rd head football coach in 2012.

“I think the transition year for coach Holgorsen will be very beneficial to the football program, and the opportunity to learn from coach Bill Stewart should not be underestimated,” athletic director Oliver Luck said in a statement. “Coach Holgorsen is one of the top coaches in college football. His success at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State speaks for itself. We know that coach Holgorsen will bring a high-powered offense that will be incredibly entertaining to watch at Milan Puskar Stadium.

“He will also provide a lot of energy and enthusiasm to our team as well as a wealth of experience. He has served under some fantastic mentors over the years, guys such as Hal Mumme, Mike Leach and Kevin Sumlin. I look forward to coach Holgorsen joining us. I cannot imagine a better combination of offensive and defensive coordinators in Dana Holgorsen and Jeff Casteel working for coach Stewart. Mountaineer football is in the best of hands.”

Holgorsen spent one season at Oklahoma State, and directed one of the most explosive offenses in the nation.  The Cowboys led the nation in total offense in 2010, averaging 537.6 yards per game, were No. 2 in passing offense, averaging 354.7 yards per game, and No. 3 in scoring offense, averaging 44.9 points per game.  The year prior to Holgorsen’s arrival, OSU was 61st in total offense.

“I look forward to the opportunity to join West Virginia University as offensive coordinator for the 2011 season,” Holgorsen said. “It will be a privilege to work alongside two great football coaches in Bill Stewart and Jeff Casteel.

“Naturally, I am excited about succeeding coach Stewart in 2012 and becoming the head coach of the Mountaineers and leading the West Virginia football program to even greater heights.

“My goal is to win a national championship at West Virginia University, and I firmly believe that coach Stewart has built a solid foundation, which will allow us to compete with the very best in the country.”

Current head coach Bill Stewart will remain the head coach in 2011, and then transition into an administrative role in 2012.  Perhaps in an effort to smooth over any hard feelings on the part of the current coach, Luck lavished praised on Stewart in the release.

“The entire Mountaineer community greatly appreciates the work that coach Bill Stewart has done for West Virginia University and the entire state,” Luck said in a continuation of the statement. “Going back to his first year on the football staff in 2000, which was the final season for Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen, coach Stewart has been a tremendous representative of our football program.

“We are indeed fortunate to have enjoyed his steady leadership and infectious personality. His dedication and love for his home state, as well as his passion for Mountaineer football, are unparalleled, and we look forward with great anticipation to a successful 2011 season with coach Stewart in charge.”

The release went on to state that Holgorsen, who will replace current offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen, will start at West Virginia after the bowl game and his compensation will be $800,000 in 2011 and will increase to $1.4 million in 2012, plus incentives. All current West Virginia football coaches will remain in place through the bowl game.

Texas Tech quickly reels in Texas transfer John Bonney

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 05 Texas at Texas Tech
Getty Images
Leave a comment

That certainly didn’t take long.

Earlier Tuesday, John Bonney was one of two players who it was announced had decided to transfer from Texas. Not even a few hours later, Texas Tech confirmed in a press release that Bonney had signed a financial aid agreement with the university and has been added to Kliff Kingsbury‘s football roster.

As a graduate transfer, Bonney will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 for the Red Raiders. The upcoming season will serve as the defensive back’s final year of eligibility.

“We’re excited to add a veteran defensive back with such experience like John,” Bonney’s new head coach said in a statement. “We will begin to get him acclimated with our team this afternoon, and I believe he’ll be a great addition to our defensive backs room.”

Of the 37 games in which Bonney played during his time with the Longhorns, 15 of those appearances were starting assignments. Just two of those starts, however, came during the 2017 season.

Donnie Abraham abruptly resigns as Illinois’ CBs coach

Getty Images
2 Comments

This would most certainly qualify as coming from out of the blue.

In exactly 18 days, Illinois will open the 2018 season at home in Champaign against Kent State.  They’ll do so, however, without a member of Lovie Smith‘s coaching staff as the football program announced that Donnie Abraham has abruptly resigned as the Fighting Illini’s cornerbacks coach.

“Donnie informed me that he felt it was in his best interest to leave our staff,” a statement from the head coach began. “I fully support his decision and wish him the best moving forward. Our current coaching staff will absorb his responsibilities.”

Abraham spent the 2017 season, his first with the Illini, as safeties coach.  He moved to cornerback this offseason after Smith adjusted his coaching staff.

This marked Abraham’s first coaching job at the collegiate level.

In his own statement, Abraham indicated that a desire to be with his son as he goes through his senior year of high school in Florida was the impetus behind the decision.

“I want to thank the University of Illinois, Josh Whitman, the athletic department and Coach Smith for opening the door and giving me an opportunity to coach in the Big Ten,” Abraham stated. “I will greatly miss the players, coaches and staff that I have had the privilege of working with this past year and a half. I know great things are on the horizon for this University and football team.

“This time away will allow me the opportunity to return to Florida and be a part of my son’s senior year in high school. Again, I wish the University of Illinois and this football program nothing but the best.

Zach Smith spent ‘several hours’ Tuesday answering Ohio State investigators’ questions

NCAA FOOTBALL: AUG 16 Ohio State Media Day
Getty Images
2 Comments

As Ohio State’s investigation into its head football coach seemingly winds its way toward a conclusion, another noteworthy individual has taken his turn in front of those whose findings will help determine whether a search for a new coach in Columbus will need to be launched.

The attorney for former Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith confirmed to the Columbus Dispatch that his client spent what was described as several hours in front of investigators Tuesday. The lawyer, Bradley Koffel, stated that Smith answered every question asked of him, adding, the Dispatch wrote, “that the lawyers conducting the interview were ‘thoroughly prepared and very exhaustive in their questioning of Zach.'”

It had been confirmed over the weekend that, after some initial uncertainty, Smith would be meeting with investigators.  Smith’s meeting came exactly one day after his ex-wife, Courtney Smith, met with the same investigative team.

As he has in the past, Zach Smith denied in that meeting earlier today that he ever abused his ex-wife, either physically or mentally, during their marriage. Courtney Smith’s estranged mother has previously backed up her former son-in-law’s version of events.

Despite it being a “very tough call,” Smith was fired by Urban Meyer on July 23 after allegations of domestic abuse, both at Florida in 2009 and again at OSU in 2015, surfaced in multiple media reports.

As part of the fallout from the domestic situation, Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 1 as questions into his handling of domestic abuse allegations made against his now-former assistant coach surfaced.  The university launched an investigation into Meyer’s actions the day after the head coach’s leave was announced, with the university stating in an Aug. 5 press release that the probe is expected to be completed within 14 days.

In a statement Aug. 3, Meyer claimed that he has “always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to the proper channels.”

How soon after the completion of the investigation, which could carry a price tag in the neighborhood of $500,000, university officials determine Meyer’s fate and announce it publicly is unknown. At this time, however, it’s strongly believed by those with knowledge of the situation that there is a very good chance that Meyer will keep his job, although he will very likely face a suspension that will cost him multiple games this season.

Barry Sanders (and his OL) to serve as grand marshals for Oklahoma State homecoming

Getty Images
2 Comments

Thirty years ago, Barry Sanders authored perhaps the greatest individual season any college football player has ever had. The eventual Heisman winner racked up 344 carries for 2,628 yards and 37 touchdowns — in 11 games. Count it by today’s standards and Sanders ripped off 2,850 yards and 42 touchdowns over the course of a single season.

Look at this work of art.

Voted in 2014 as the greatest individual season in college football history, Sanders’s 1988 campaign has become more impressive now than it was 30 years ago. In the day and age of pass-first offenses, Sanders’s record-breaking campaign may never be approached again, let alone duplicated. For instance, in 2014 Melvin Gordon rushed for 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns, but needed 14 games to get there.

On Tuesday, Oklahoma State announced it is getting the band back together to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Sanders’s Heisman campaign.

“Cowboy fans have very fond memories of watching Barry play,” said Blaire Atkinson, interim president of the OSU Alumni Association. “Given the anniversary, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Homecoming than with the addition of our Heisman award winner and his teammates.”

Added Sanders himself: “1988 was such a special year for OSU football. The fact that I get to celebrate the 30th anniversary at Homecoming with my coaches, teammates, and of course our fans, is very special to me.”

Sanders and his offensive line — known as the War Pigs — will serve as grand marshals of Homecoming, which means leading the Sea of Orange parade on Saturday morning and appearing at the Cowboys’ 98th Homecoming game later that day on Oct. 27 as Oklahoma State hosts Texas.