Tue Dec 14 12:24pm EST
West Virginians, take note: 2011 could be your last chance to enjoy the native stylings of Bill Stewart, the Bill Stewart Face and Bill Stewart's Folk Tale Hour, according to the Charleston Daily Mail and the Charleston Gazette. Both of the state's largest outlets report this morning that WVU has agreed to bring aboard Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen as resident spread guru and head coach-in-waiting, with an eye toward taking over for Stewart in 2012. (Update, 2:54 p.m.: The Austin American-Statesman also confirms the move to make Holgorsen the coach-in-waiting.)
That jibes with earlier reports that West Virginia had been in contact with Holgorsen, who was also being pursued by Pitt over the weekend. (Those rumors that Stewart was preparing to hand over the reins – perhaps involuntarily – to make way for Holgorsen after the Champs Sports Bowl date on Dec. 28 were just a year early, is all). OSU site O-State Illustrated reported this morning that Holgorsen's 2011 salary in Morgantown will be in the neighborhood of $750,000, twice his current deal at Oklahoma State, and will jump to $2 million when he becomes the head coach.
Current Mountaineer defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel is expected to remain on after overseeing a unit that finished third nationally in total defense this year and second in scoring. As for current Mountaineer offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen, well, the offense has come a long way from the "spread 'n shred": The Mountaineers averaged well below 30 points in 2010 for the the third consecutive season on Mullen's watch, after putting up at least 32 per game in each of Rich Rodriguez's last three.
Holgorsen seems like a nice remedy for the malaise. Oklahoma State was almost unanimously tabbed to finish at or near the bottom of the Big 12 South in the wake of massive attrition from arguably the most hyped team ever out of Stillwater in 2009, ending in a third or fourth-tier bowl game for 6-6 stragglers at best. Instead, the decision to bring in the former Mike Leach protégé to resurrect an offense that imploded at the end of '09 paid off with the most prolific attack in the nation and, with one more 'W' in the bowl game, the most prolific win column in school history.
Going back to his "Air Raid" days at Texas Tech and his two-year stint with Case Keenum pulling the trigger at Houston, 2009 is the fourth straight season Holgorsen has been a part of designing the nation's No. 1 or No. 2 total offense, with three different quarterbacks at three different schools. West Virginia doesn't have issues with butts in seats, but if a Hologorsen offense is in the house, "malaise" is probably not going to show up on the list of concerns anytime soon.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.