Berry Tramel: Mike Gundy lucked out with Dana Holgorsen; West Virginia might not

by Berry Tramel Modified: June 12, 2011 at 7:39 pm •  Published: June 12, 2011

Mike Gundy should be breathing easy these days. He's living charmed on hiring Dana Holgorsen.

The same cannot be said of Oliver Luck, like Gundy, another ex-quarterback of some note who has risen to a position of power at his alma mater.

Luck, the West Virginia athletic director, has the football coach he wanted, Holgorsen, albeit a few months early.

Before his Mountaineer offense has even taken the field for a game, Holgorsen has embarrassed himself and his employer. And gotten a promotion and raise out of the deal. Holgorsen was offensive coordinator/head-coach-in-waiting. Now the wait is over. Almost heaven, West Virginia.

Holgorsen now leads Mountaineer football, and out here on the prairie, we should wish him well. He did right by Oklahoma State.

Holgorsen provided Gundy with instant offensive excellence at OSU and no public scandals. Sort of the opposite of what Holgorsen has done at West Virginia.

Holgorsen likes the night life; that was obvious from his 11 months in Stillwater, when he lived in a hotel and had a graduate assistant who virtually served as his driver. Holgorsen didn't come to work until 9 a.m., which in football time means half the day is gone.

Maybe in Oklahoma, Holgorsen dabbled in the kind of behavior he exhibited in West Virginia — removed, intoxicated, by peace officers from a casino at 3 a.m. — but there's no record of it. He directed Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon on how to score a ton of touchdowns, and an OSU season billed as rebuilding instead became historic, with 11 victories.

Holgorsen didn't seem to completely mesh with the Cowboy staff, but you can't argue with the results. In retrospect, Gundy deserves an A-plus for his handling of Holgorsen.

Recognizing the offensive possibilities. Navigating the potential staff problems. Keeping Holgorsen's carousing a non-issue.

Gundy never seemed intent on Holgorsen being a long-term addition, and now we see why. Holgorsen was an excellent coach with ambition and a self-destructive streak. That's got one-year wonder written all over it.

Holgorsen left Stillwater before the honeymoon ended, courtesy of Luck, the West Virginia athletic director who so far is proving to be a much better QB than administrator.

This coach-in-waiting model has become all the rage in college football. Texas. Oregon. Purdue. Florida State. All kinds of schools have adopted it.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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