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Oklahoma State football: How Dana Holgorsen's brief stay in Stillwater worked out for everyone

In one season as offensive coordinator, Holgorsen helped transform the Cowboys into a national power.
BY GINA MIZELL Published: November 7, 2012

“It could have been because we won a lot, or because of his personality. I think it was a combination of both.”

Holgorsen's unorthodox off-the-field behavior is also well-documented.

The Cowboy staff joke was that Holgorsen could fly around the world twice because of all the Marriott points he racked up by living in a Stillwater hotel. Some who knew him during his stint at OSU report that his free time would often include cocktails and casinos. Give Holgorsen credit, he employed a driver.


After leaving for West Virginia, there were reports of Holgorsen and casinos there, too, and the story of the night he'd reportedly had too much to drink and was tossed from the premises. Soon after, the late Bill Stewart, the Mountaineers acting head coach who was set to be replaced by Holgorsen, allegedly urged some sports writers to dig into Holgorsen's past for more questionable antics.

But despite all the quirks, Holgorsen got results during his one season at OSU.

His offense helped make the Cowboys one of college football's biggest surprise teams in 2010, finishing 10-2 and tied for the Big 12 South title. He helped catapult Weeden and Justin Blackmon to superstar status, which eventually resulted in both being first-round NFL Draft picks. He laid the foundation of an offensive philosophy that won a Big 12 title last season and continues to thrive in 2012, even with a quarterback carousel and an injury-rattled receiving corps.

And it propelled Holgorsen to his own personal opportunity to advance his career and become a head coach.

“I went there and had a good year,” Holgorsen said of his time at OSU. “I knew there were good people in place.

“(Gundy) does a wonderful job from a structural standpoint and from an organizational standpoint, as far as how you run a program and as far as what your day-to-day operations are like. I took a lot of things from him, and, from an offensive standpoint, he took a lot of things from me.”

Gundy admits he thought Holgorsen would stay at OSU for two seasons and that him leaving after one “threw (him) a curveball.” He understands, however, that Holgorsen had to take the job at West Virginia.

Holgorsen's stay in Stillwater ultimately wasn't much more than a pit stop, which fits his offbeat nature. Still, his football influence at OSU is recognized on the field and by his former colleagues.

“He had a really good impact on this program,” Meacham said. “We're grateful to him for coming in and spending that time that he was here.”