By now, I think you all know me from the Smoking Musket Podcast, but I’m actually a writer by trade. As a new member of the staff, I am trying to do my part in supplying this amazing site with written content.
We all have our own opinions of West Virginia head football coach Dana Holgorsen, but Athlon Sports & Life ranked all 128 college football bowl subdivision head coaches. Holgorsen was ranked No. 45 overall, No. 6 in the Big 12.
"Holgorsen enters 2016 in an interesting position. Last season, the Mountaineers recorded their highest win total (eight) since joining the Big 12 in 2012. However, contract negotiations between Holgorsen and athletic director Shane Lyons ended earlier this spring."
This assessment of facts is spot-on. Yes, Holgorsen had his most successful year in the Big 12 last season, but most Mountaineer fans would point out that eight wins would have been a cause for firing the previous two coaches.
Athlon made clear, however, that this list is not about wins and losses, but the overall big picture. Coaches higher on the list had worse or similar records to Holgs’ last year and some ranked lower had better records.
The uncertainty surrounding Holgs is obviously giving the staff at Athlon concern about his overall coaching ability, but they do fail to mention the NFL talent he has produced during his tenure. What is also somewhat glossed over was the brilliant coaching move to rely on the run more than he has in the past, resulting in a top-20 rushing attack.
Holgorsen is situated behind Texas head coach Charlie Strong (32) and in front of Kliff Kingsbury (51) of Texas Tech in the rankings, sixth overall in the Big 12. If you were to look at the merit of their current jobs, one could argue that Holgorsen should be ahead of Strong; however, when looking at their complete body of work, Strong has proven to be a good head coach at two schools.
With Art Briles dismissed at Baylor, Strong was able to move up the list behind Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops (5), Gary Patterson (6) of TCU, Bill Snyder (11) of Kansas State and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy (21).
With an overall record of 36-28 in five seasons, Holgorsen’s tenure at WVU has been just above average (.562 win percentage). His true success has been seen in building what most believe is now a true modern football program and pulling off four big-time upsets. Overall, this is a fair ranking for Holgorsen.
Notably below Holgorsen on the list is Marshall’s Doc Holliday (70), Cincinnati’s Tommy Tuberville (59) and Matt Rhule of Temple (who finished 10-4 last year) (58).
Ranked above Holgs is Bronco Mendenhall (43), now at Virginia, Pat Narduzzi (39), who guided Pitt to an 8-5 mark in his first season, and new Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente (33).
How do you think this ranking reflects Holgorsen’s first tenure as a head coach? Comment below.