This article originally dealt with the lack of a signed contract since Holgorsen came to WVU. That matter has now been resolved.
Coach Dana Holgorsen was hired in June of 2011 for what appeared to be a very lucrative contract as the new head football coach at WVU. In figures released by NBC Sports, his contract called for $1.4 million his first year, plus substantial performance bonuses. Scheduled increases of $250k per year would increase his annual salary to $2.4 million, plus bonuses, in 2016.
Given the scope of today's salaries for head football coaches at successful venues, I do not mean to disparage the amount of money spent. Indeed, Coach Holgorsen's second year salary of $1.65 million for 2012 barely places him in ninth place above Paul Rhodes of Iowa State, according to salary comparisons done by the Star-Telegram in Texas. Even with $225k in bonuses for achieving ten wins—winning the Big East and the Orange Bowl—he is still not among the 50 highest paid head football coaches at BCS schools.
Keeping in mind that 2011 was Coach Holgorsen's first year as a head coach, perhaps further negotiations need to be completed between athletic director Oliver Luck and Coach Holgorsen's agent, based upon Coach Holgorsen's initial success. If you want to build a top ten program, the university and boosters must give your coaches everything that they need to succeed in terms of salaries, facilities and operating budgets. If you want to keep them, you also give them at least half of the things that they want.
Understanding that negotiations take time, I still believe WVU alumni, supporters and fans would breathe easier if the "letter of intent" could be signed into a binding contract soon—at whatever compensation package dollar amount is agreed to by AD Luck and Coach Holgorsen's agent.
I do not believe Coach Holgorsen is trying to keep "one foot out the door". But imagine if February came and a team's prized recruit did not sign with any school. Instead, he signs a "letter of intent" to accept a school's scholarship offer pending an agreement on specific details of the scholarship. I realize this would not be legal, but bear with me as if it were.
The player then attends classes and participates in football, quite successfully. It's all the same as if he had an actual scholarship except he can walk away and sign with another school at any moment. How would his coaches and fellow players feel about that?
Kudos to Athletic Director Oliver Luck and Coach Holgorsen for resolving this issue. Now there is the matter of Mr. Luck's own inadequate contract! Boosters?