On the same night West Virginia put the finishing touches on a much-needed bounceback season, the man in charge of the rebound has been rewarded.
Shortly after WVU’s win over Baylor in the regular-season finale, the school confirmed in a press release that Dana Holgorsen has agreed to a new contract to remain on with the Mountaineers. Holgorsen’s new deal runs through the 2021 season; his old deal had been set to expire after the 2017 season.
The announcement comes nine months after it was reported that talks between the two sides had come to an end, raising questions about Holgorsen’s long-term future with the program. This deal confirms that, in the here and now, Holgorsen and athletic director Shane Lyons are singing from the same hymnal.
“I said back in the spring that Coach Holgorsen and I were focused on nothing but a successful 2016 football season, and I think we’ve proven that,” Lyons said in a statement. “Now that the regular season has come to a close, the time is right to finalize a new contract for Dana and keep our program going in a positive direction.
“Dana and I have always had a good, open dialogue, and we want this program to succeed at the highest level,” Lyons added. “I am pleased and happy that he wants to continue to lead the Mountaineer football program. Part of my job is to give him the resources to succeed, and we will continue to work together closely to bring the very best to West Virginia football.”
Saturday’s night win gives the Mountaineers 10 in 2016 with a bowl remaining, the first time they’ve reached double digits since Holgorsen’s first season in 2011. In between, Holgorsen’s squad stumbled to a 26-25 overall record and a 15-21 mark in Big 12 play, leading some to put the coach on the hot seat entering each of the last two seasons.
The second-place finish in the Big 12 is easily the program’s best since joining the conference for the 2012 season. With a bowl victory, WVU would hit 11 wins for the first time since 2007 and just the sixth time in program history.
“I am proud of our team and what we have accomplished this year by being only the ninth squad in school history to win 10 games in a season,” Holgorsen said. “I want to congratulate and thank our coaching staff and players for a job well done. I also want to thank President Gee, Shane and Keli Cunningham for their commitment and support. Going forward, my focus is squarely on recruiting and the upcoming bowl game. I strongly believe that our football program is in position to be successful for a very long time.
Holgorsen’s 2016 salary called for total pay of $2.98 million, seventh amongst Big 12 head coaches. The new deal would bump his 2017 salary to $3.5 million, fifth in the league. With annual raises built in, Holgorsen’s total pay would top out at $4 million in the final year of the deal.