The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

January 3, 2012

Making a mark

Holgorsen finds a way — his way — during first season

MORGANTOWN — As his first season as West Virginia’s head football coach comes to a conclusion, Dana Holgorsen remains something of a mystery man.

He has overcome what threatened to be a bad image in his early days on the job, a job he attained in controversy that threatened to shatter all the prestige West Virginia had built since the days of Don Nehlen, yet he has somehow avoided replacing it with any kind of image at all.

It’s safe to say that no one really knows what the man likes to eat, if he is dating any young ladies, in town or out, the names of his children or, for that matter, what his hobbies are.

He has neither cultivated the media nor alienated it. He has done what has been asked of him media-wise, but has not gone beyond. His press conferences offer little in the way of real information and he is terribly hesitant to talk about himself.

He has avoided wearing blue and gold as much as he can, preferring a black shirt and jeans or even a white shirt and jeans, to the school colors, but we don’t know if he believes they clash with his eyes or does it simply because he wants to establish his own identity.

Coaching the football team he has been fine, but hardly what you would call a magnificent success. True, there are accomplishments:

• He is the first West Virginia coach to lead his team to a Big East championship and a BCS bowl in his first season.

• He is the first WVU coach to go to a BCS bowl in his first year as a head coach.

• Under him, West Virginia is one of just three schools in the nation with a 3,500-yard passer and two 1,000-yard receivers.

• Total offense ranks No. 17 this year, up from No. 67 in 2010.

• But his record of 9-3 is no different from the record his predecessor Bill Stewart compiled heading into three straight bowl games, and if the passing yards have gone crazy, no WVU-coached team has had a rushing attack that accounted for just 1,413 yards since Frank Cignetti’s 1978 team rushed for 1,432 yards in a full season.

That, of course, falls under the heading “Different Strokes for Different Folks” and may be as much a generational thing as anything else.

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