Sports

A Story: You Don’t Know What You Got Till It’s Gone

It’s official. Dana Holgorsen is now the head football coach at the University of Houston. In Holgorsen’s eight years as the head man at West Virginia, his total record was 61-41.

I honestly mean this when I say it: Dana Holgorsen wasn’t the disappointment, nor was he the “problem”. Dana developed and coached 2-3 star football players, along with JUCO transfers and won big games with them. It was never, and will never, be realistic to think that West Virginia can compete with Oklahoma and Texas when it comes to recruiting. It’s just not realistic. Dana, in fact, recruited exceptionally well during his time in Morgantown. He wasn’t a bad recruiter, it’s just hard to sell a kid to come to West Virginia. In a year where Dana beat TWO college football blue bloods in Tennessee and Texas, you have to be satisfied with the outcome of this season. You play that NC State game, win 9, you play in the Alamo Bowl instead of the Camping World Bowl, and maybe things are a little different. That’s not a bad season. That’s par for the course if you’re West Virginia. The Mountaineers were never going to win a National Championship, despite the preseason hype that obviously has disappointed the Mountaineer faithful and created this anger towards the wrong person. Part of the problem with this situation is the fanbase of West Virginia. In football, ceilings exist. In life, ceilings exist. When Dana had Skylar Howard win 10 games, Mountaineer fans trashed a sub-par team and quarterback that wildly overachieved. Shunned the poor kid at quarterback who did something that the almighty savior William Grier never accomplished: Win 10 regular season football games.

Dana Holgorsen pats 10 win Skylar Howard on his 10 win head

Now, what do I mean when I say that ceilings exist in football? It means that there is only a maximum amount of room for accomplishments and achievements. I don’t want this to sound antagonizing, because it’s honestly just the truth. The reality of it is this: West Virginia will never win the Big 12. As long as Lincoln Riley and Tom Herman are in that conference, it’s not going to happen. Even when those two are gone, they will hire an elite coach and continue their storied dominance. They will never win it in basketball, either. Blame Kansas and Bill Self, not me. You can sit there and say that I’m a hater and this-that-and-the-other, but I’m just telling you the truth. Deep down, I think you know this is the truth as well. I know that it’s depressing being a fan of a team that can’t reach what you believe is their full potential, but guess what? That was their full potential, and coaching had absolutely nothing to do with it. You lose two heartbreakers to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, which I predicted, but go back and watch the film. Was it the coaching that lost those football games? I’m not trying to play the armchair quarterback here, but I know when coaching loses a football game and when player error is to blame. Sometimes, the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. In football and in life. Get used to it.

Now, the question turns to who is on the list for Dana’s replacement. Here are the rumored candidates:

#1. Neal Brown – Troy

Troy head coach Neal Brown hoists the 2017 R+L Carriers Bowl trophy

The 38 year old from Danville, Kentucky is the most popular name at this point. In his first season as the Trojans head coach, he posted a 4-8 record. In each of the three seasons since, Troy has won at least 10 games and is 3-0 in their bowl games. To be honest with you, I don’t believe this guy is the answer at West Virginia. You don’t want to shoot low and scrape the bottom of the barrel. Not that he wouldn’t be successful, but he’s the kind of coach who is early in his head coaching career and would leave WVU for a bigger job if he had success, as Troy is his first head coaching position. I’ll pass on that.

#2. Luke Fickell – Cincinatti

Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell

The 45 year old from Columbus, Ohio has been mentioned a lot lately as a possible replacement for Dana Holgorsen. Fickell had previously spent most of his career at The Ohio State University, first as a player and then as an assistant coach from 2002 to 2016. Fickell also served as interim head football coach for the 2011 Ohio State Buckeyes football team after the resignation of Jim Tressel. I believe this is a bad idea as well. He’s an Ohio guy and wouldn’t really mend well with West Virginia fans. He is also in his first head coaching position. Not what you want or need. Pass.

#3. Butch Jones – Maryland

Former Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones during the first quarter against the Western Carolina Catamounts at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

He was the head coach at the University of Tennessee from 2013 to 2017, University of Cincinnati from 2010 to 2012 and Central Michigan University from 2007 to 2009. The 50 year old from Saugatuck, Michigan played college football at Ferris State University. He’s currently on staff at Maryland as the associate head coach and tight ends coach. He has West Virginia ties, as he coached the wide receivers for the Mountaineers from 2005-2006 before taking his first head coaching position at Central Michigan. Take it from me, boys and girls. This would be a disaster of a hire. Atrocious in-game coach and game planner. Just awful. PASS!

As of today, those three are the most talked about options for the Mountaineers. I will close with this:

Dana Holgorsen is a good football coach. If he weren’t, other schools wouldn’t have been interested in hiring him. That’s just a fact. I honestly believe that he did absolutely everything he could do to make West Virginia a better team. He did not fail and he did not “disappoint”. West Virginia fans created this insane theory that they had a Heisman Trophy quarterback and a team that could contend for a National Championship. Word of advice, stay away from the hype. Tune it out. Don’t listen to it and don’t read it. It’s only going to let you down in the end. That’s the difference here. Dana didn’t let you down, you let you down. As Dana continues his coaching career at Houston, I look forward to watching his Cougars achieve great things. If you didn’t like Dana Holgorsen, that’s fine. Enough with the crazy talk saying he was a bad coach, though. Good luck to Dana on his new gig.

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