Report: Dana Holgorsen to Houston After Paying Buyout as WVU Head Coach

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2019

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen walks on the field before the first half of the Camping World Bowl NCAA college football game against Syracuse, Friday, Dec. 28, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Dana Holgorsen is reportedly leaving West Virginia for Houston.  

Holgorsen agreed to a five-year, $20 million contract with Houston on Monday, per Bruce Feldman of The Athletic.

The 47-year-old coach will replace Major Applewhite, who was let go after Houston's 70-14 loss to Army in the Armed Forces Bowl. Applewhite went 15-11 during his tenure.

Holgorsen's buyout decreased to $1 million on Jan. 1, which is the reason for the timing. He went 61-41 in eight seasons at West Virginia, finishing with a winning record seven times. The Mountaineers were a disappointing 2-5 in bowl games, though, and finished the season with a Top 25 ranking under Holgorsen just twice.

West Virginia closed the 2018 season with a loss to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl.

"It's always nice to be able to end the year with a win, but we know we had a good year," Holgorsen told reporters after the game. "People can be disappointed all they want to. We know we had a good year. We battled hard all year long and came up a little bit short. Welcome to big-time football."

While some may see Holgorsen as taking a step down to a non-Power Five school, there are several reasons behind this move. The first is that West Virginia was not willing to give him the same long-term security as Houston. Holgorsen is now the highest-paid Group of Five coach in the nation. 

Holgorsen has strong ties to the state of Texas. This will be his second stint at Houston, where he served as offensive coordinator in 2008 and 2009 and orchestrated one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. He also spent eight seasons as an assistant at Texas Tech. Holgorsen is well-known for his heavy recruitment of the area and could turn Houston into a perennial contender for a New Year's Six bowl.