STILLWATER â€” It looks like Dana Holgorsen will not be the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh in 2011.
But the battle for his coaching talents remains intense.
Holgorsen could end up at West Virginia, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Mountaineers have been in talks with Holgorsen to bring him into the program either as a head coach or coach-in-waiting with the 2012 season being the latest he would take the helm.
Holgorsen has maintained a media silence throughout much of the process but is in Stillwater preparing the Cowboys' game plan for the Alamo Bowl. He has maintained that he is happy in Stillwater and does not want to â€œbe known as a guy who jumps aroundâ€ to different jobs. If he left OSU, he would enter his third different job in three seasons.
West Virginia sources confirmed to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that â€œa high-ranking officialâ€ from West Virginia's athletic department had been in contact with Holgorsen about the head coaching position at the school, even though WVU does not currently have a vacancy.
Mountaineers coach Bill Stewart has led his squad to a 9-3 record, and they could earn their tenth win in the Champs Sports Bowl against North Carolina State on Dec. 28. But Stewart's job could be in jeopardy with a loss, which would result in three straight seasons with a 9-4 record.
Mountaineers offensive coordinatorÂ Jeff Mullen is a candidate for the Kent State job, so WVU could propose to bring Holgorsen in as a â€œcoach in waitingâ€ as the offensive coordinator if Mullen leaves. But the PPG reports that Stewart is said to be opposed to having Holgorsen as his offensive coordinator for one season with the understanding he would retire after the 2011 campaign.
WVU athletic director Oliver Luck took over the Mountaineer athletic program in June and is likely familiar with Holgorsen's offensive attack. Luck, a former standout quarterback at WVU and the father of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, was the president and general manager of the MLS' Houston Dynamo before accepting the position at West Virginia.
Holgorsen coached at Houston from 2008-2009 before coming to OSU last January.
If Holgorsen were to leave, Cowboy coach Mike Gundy, who has said he has a list of potential candidates already in mind if that scenario emerged, could promote from within the program or look to bring in anÂ offensive coordinator from outside the program with a similar offensive system.