Update 1/2/19 @ 12:15 PM: According to Chris Anderson and Mike Casazza at EerSports.com, Dana Holgorsen has notified Shane Lyons and West Virginia that he has accepted an agreement to become head coach of the Houston Cougars.
West Virginia can now officially kick off it’s coaching search and notify players and recruits of Holgorsen’s departure.
The second winningest head coaching tenure in West Virginia football history has come to an end.
Dana Holgorsen will not be returning for his ninth season as Mountaineer head coach, sources tell us here at The Smoking Musket and now confirmed by SB Nation’s Steven Godfrey, and will instead become the next head coach of the Houston Cougars.
Rumors of the move began to swirl late Friday night following West Virginia’s 34-18 loss to the Syracuse Orange in the Camping World Bowl, and picked up national media attention by Saturday afternoon.
The move comes following a disappointing end to the 2018 season that saw a Mountaineer team primed for a Big 12 Championship game appearance inexplicably give up a seventeen point halftime lead against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, kicking off a three game losing skid.
Holgorsen compiled a 61-41 record in his eight seasons in Morgantown, becoming the second all-time winning coach in program history - one win above Rich Rodriguez. Holgorsen finishes 2-5 in bowl games, with his only wins coming in the form of a 70-33 beating of the Clemson Tigers in the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl and a 43-42 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl following the 2015 season.
Holgorsen’s move will leave him owing West Virginia University $1 million, which is likely to be paid by the University of Houston or Tilman Fertitta, Chairman of the University Board of Regents, himself. Holgorsen’s contract at Houston is expected to be a five-year agreement with his 2019 salary falling somewhere around the $4 million range, and an assistant salary pool around $3 million.
Holgorsen is likely to take a number of Mountaineer assistants with him to Houston, most notably being wide receivers coach Tyron Carrier, who played under Holgorsen for the Cougars in 2008 and 2009. Offensive line coach Joe Wickline is another Mountaineer assistant possible to find a landing spot on the Cougars’ coaching staff. It’s unclear if any of the defensive staff will follow Holgorsen to Texas.
West Virginia will immediately begin their search for a replacement, and will move as quickly as possible to fill the position. Rumored candidates include Troy Trojans head coach Neal Brown, Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell, Army Black Knights head coach Jeff Monken, UCF Knights head coach Josh Heupel and Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Dan Enos, among others.