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Holgorsen pinned with high expectations

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By Tony Dobies
Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Bill Stewart took the "Flying WV" pin off his suit and placed it on the jacket of West Virginia's next coach. With that, the transition began.

Stewart shook the hand of Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen and sat down beside athletic director Oliver Luck as Holgorsen, the Mountaineers' coach-in-waiting, was introduced Wednesday.

"You want the bar set high. If that's not the case, then you're probably fighting an uphill battle," Holgorsen said. "The fact that WVU football is important here is a big factor to me."

Holgorsen has only been to Morgantown twice, but he believes the program can win a national championship. For that reason, the offensive guru — who has worked at three schools in the past four years — expects to stay awhile.

"The path to a conference championship, a BCS game and a national championship is all here," Holgorsen said. "Hopefully, I'll be here a long time."

He will settle in gradually while working under Stewart for a year before taking over in 2012. Despite being in an unconventional situation next year, the pair believes they will have no trouble working together. Stewart said it will be a "very smooth transition."

"If everyone is on the same page, you have a chance to win football games," said Holgorsen, adding that if he felt it would be an issue, he wouldn't have taken the job. "If I come to work and there's people fighting each other, you're not going to win games. We're comfortable with each other, and we know, if we're on the same page, we'll have a chance to win football games."

Stewart said he and Holgorsen have gotten along "really, really well" so far. The two will develop a new offensive scheme after next season.

"The direction of West Virginia football is in great hands and will continue to be," Stewart said.

Holgorsen officially takes over for offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jeff Mullen on Jan. 1. At that point, Holgorsen will begin to discuss staff changes and develop a recruiting plan.

Until then, Holgorsen's focus is on the Alamo Bowl, where he will try to lead Oklahoma State's top-ranked offense to its 11th victory. WVU will continue to prepare for Tuesday's Champs Sports Bowl before further changes are discussed. Holgorsen has not met the team and will not to do until the season is finished.

A key, Holgorsen said, will be to try to keep defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and his staff happy. He doesn't expect personnel moves on that side of the ball.

"I'm 100 percent in on trying to make this place just a little bit better," Holgorsen said. "I never want to go to work and not have fun. I don't want these kids to go out to practice or to a game and not have fun."

Holgorsen signed a term sheet that will pay him $800,000 in 2011 and $1.4 million plus incentives in the subsequent five years of his six-year deal. He has yet to sign an official contract.

"I'm very excited about the future of our football program," Luck said. "We've got a tremendous lineup of coaches, and that will reflect on our productivity and results on the field."

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