Dana Holgorsen and the WVU football team improved from 2014 to 2015.
The Mountaineers went 7-6 in 2014, with a bowl loss to Texas A&M before getting to 8-5 with a bowl win over Arizona State last season.
Dana Holgorsen’s personal improvement doesn’t come from the results on the field or the recruitment of young players. What he did move up in comes from Bill Bender of Sporting News.
Bender, and SN.com, annually ranks all 128 head coaches of NCAA Division I FCS teams. This year’s poll gave the No. 1 overall spot to none other than Monongah, West Virginia native Nick Saban, who just so happens to, arguably, be the biggest name in college sports.
Saban, the head coach at Alabama, also moved up in the ranks having been at the No. 2 spot before the 2015 season.
Holgorsen’s jump isn’t as drastic. Really, it’s not all that noteworthy. He did, however, crack the Top 50.
Before the 2016 season, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen is considered the No. 49 overall coach, according to Bender.
Considering what the Mountaineers have, or haven’t accomplished in the past four seasons, this really is an accurate description and assessment of Holgorsen and the path the WVU football program is heading.
Holgorsen’s future at West Virginia does remain cloudy. A solid season, a 10-win campaign perhaps, will likely vault Holgorsen to a lengthy extension. However, another mediocre campaign, which has been commonplace since Holgorsen and the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 Conference, may spell the end for the Red Bull-drinking leader.
Speaking of the Big 12, there were a handful of other coaches from the conference who left ahead of Holgorsen on Bender’s rankings.
Jim Grobe of Baylor was No. 35; Charlie Strong of Texas was No. 34; Bill Snyder of Kansas State was No. 18; Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State was No. 17; Gary Patterson of TCU was No. 8 and Bob Stoops of Oklahoma was No. 7.
When former West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck hired Holgorsen in 2011, the expectation was that he would find himself at the top of rankings like this. He was a true up-and-comer in the coaching ranks and had a solid mentality and a proven track record of offensive success.
The Mountaineers have only seen bits and pieces of Holgorsen’s true expertise. He still has a lot to learn about being a head coach and he still needs to development a better sense of awareness to be able to adjust in certain in-game situations.
Technically, he has been training on the job as the head coach (since that head coach-in-waiting system did not work out under former head coach Bill Stewart).
Current athletic director Shane Lyons needs reason to trust and have faith in Holgorsen, moving forward. A No. 49 ranking doesn’t give him that comfortably, right now.