Could West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen Have Been Miami’s Head Coach?

2 Live Crew’s Lester Campbell AKA Uncle Luke of its “All About the U” Fame claimed in Fall 2015 “‘I know for a fact’ Holgorsen, Strong would take Miami job” about the then University of Miami’s Head Coaching opening.

When the Miami Hurricanes fired then Head Coach Al Golden in October 2015 following an embarrassing 58-0 home loss to Clemson, speculation ran wild about who his successor would be. The likely candidates were mostly those that had ties to Miami and/or South Florida.

The candidates most often mentioned were former Coach Butch Davis, former Miami Offensive Lineman Mario Cristobal and former Hurricanes Tight End Rob Chudzinski. Other names that were mentioned included Alabama Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin and Carolina Panthers Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula, son of legendary Miami Dolphins Head Coach Don Shula.

In an interview with Fox Sports, Campbell had his own list that included the Head Coach of Miami’s Russell Athletic Bowl Opponent, West Virginia. Holgorsen has been the Mountaineers Head Coach Since 2011. He has few ties to South Florida and only coached in the Southeast at Division II schools.

Although he was raised in Iowa, Holgorsen’s coaching pedigree at the Division I level is primarily in the Big XII. Holgorsen spent eight seasons as an assistant at Texas Tech, two at Baylor and one with Oklahoma State before being hired to succeed Bill Stewart at West Virginia.

Campbell wrote an article for the Miami New Times titled “Uncle Luke: Five Coaches UM Must Consider to Replace Al Golden”. Campbell’s five candidates were Davis, Cristobal, Former Minnesota Head Coach and Current Florida State Tight End Coach Tim Brewster, Kentucky Head Coach (and former Hurricanes assistant) Mark Stoops and Former Texas Head Coach Charlie Strong who was recently hired by South Florida.

Luther Campbell on West Virginia Head Coach Dana Holgorsen as a possible UM Coaching Candidate in 2015: “During his four-year tenure as West Virginia University head coach, Holgorsen brought in three assistants from South Florida, including the former head coaches at Miramar and Glades Central high schools.”

Holgorsen has spent his entire coaching career on the offensive side of the ball. His teams have been among the nation’s leaders offensively since he became the Co-Offensive coordinator at Texas Tech in 2005 under Mike Leach.

The Red Raiders averaged 39.4 Points Per game that season, fourth nationally. They would finish 13th and seventh in Holgorsen’s final two seasons in Lubbock, before he left to become the Offensive Coordinator at Houston under current Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin.

The Cougars averaged 41.4 points per game in Holgorsen’s two seasons at Houston. They finished second and seventh nationally in scoring. Holgorsen left Houston after the 2009 season to become the Offensive Coordinator at Oklahoma State.

In his one season in Stillwater, the Cowboys averaged 44.2 points per game, third nationally. Oklahoma State averaged 345 yards passing and 174 rushing. Wide Receiver Justin Blackmon led the nation with 20 receiving touchdowns and won the Biletnikoff award as the nation’s best receiver.

Holgorsen signed a contract extension in 2012 that keeps him as West Virginia’s coach in 2018. Would he have been open to an overture from UM? Its hard to say. The Land Grand Gauntlet reported earlier this year, that West Virginia Athletic Director Shane Lyons said that Holgorsen turned down another extension earlier this year:

“Several months ago we had the opportunity to look at the contract, look at different scenarios…There was a lot of conversation with Dana’s representatives on the contract and what they were looking for…Ultimately they decided they didn’t want to accept the offer that was out there. We decided to focus on the current contract and what was left of the two years and focus on the 2016 football season and the recruiting we are doing now and move forward.”

Miami Athletic Director Blake James’ move to hire Richt was quick and decisive. There were rumors that Maryland and Virginia were also interested in Richt. James had also interviewed Davis, Former Rutgers and Buccaneers Head Coach and Current Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Greg Schiano and Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen in addition to Richt.

Richt has shown great leadership is his first season at the U. Their season ending four game winning streak was impressive after a four game losing streak. Many teams could have easily given up. The ‘Canes continued to fight. Under Richt, the future appears bright in South Florida.

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