UPDATE 6/10/11 @ 10:10 p.m.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Dana Holgorsen has been introduced as West Virginia's head football coach hours after Bill Stewart resigned.
Athletic director Oliver Luck didn't address specific reasons for Stewart's resignation at a news conference Friday night. But Luck says recent developments had become a distraction.
Holgorsen was hired as offensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting in December, while Stewart was to serve his final season in 2011.
But both made unwanted headlines in recent weeks.
An intoxicated Holgorsen was escorted out of a casino last month. More recently, a reporter said Stewart had approached him shortly after Holgorsen's hiring to "dig up" dirt on his eventual successor.
Holgorsen says becoming a college head coach for the first time is "the chance of a lifetime."
“As I said when I introduced Dana as our offensive coordinator and head coach-designate, he is ready for this challenge and undoubtedly the huge responsibility that goes along with it,” said West Virginia University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Oliver Luck . “I have complete confidence in his ability to coach this team and lead us into the next chapter of Mountaineer football. I firmly believe our fans will see an exciting brand of football and will be pleased with the product on the field.”
Holgorsen, who came from Oklahoma State after serving as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator in 2010, will be the University’s 33rd head coach.
It originally was announced on Dec. 15, 2010, that he would serve as WVU’s offensive coordinator and head coach-designate for a season, and then become the head coach. He has been on staff since the beginning of January and coached the offense throughout spring drills.
"I am excited about the opportunity and I am honored to become the new head coach at West Virginia,” Holgorsen said. “I appreciate the confidence that Oliver Luck, the University and the Mountaineer supporters have shown in me, and I look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence at West Virginia.
“We will move forward, united as coaches, players and administrators and work hard to bring championships to this great state.
“All of West Virginia owes a debt of gratitude to Bill Stewart for his unwavering commitment to this University and to this state, and he is always welcome here as a Mountaineer."
Holgorsen, a finalist for the 2010 Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant football coach, and the rivals.com Offensive Coordinator of the Year, served as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State during the 2010 season.
The Cowboys led the nation in total offense during the regular season and finished No. 2 in passing offense and No. 3 in total and scoring offense. OSU averaged 520.23 yards per game in total offense, including 345.9 passing yards and 44.23 points per game.
Oklahoma State’s offense ranked No. 61 nationally in total offense in 2009, the year before Holgorsen arrived, and he took it to the No. 1 spot during the 2010 season. He was a vital member of the coaching staff, helping lead the Cowboys to a school-record 10 wins during the regular season and a berth in the Valero Alamo Bowl, after preseason predictions had OSU near the bottom of the Big 12 Conference.
Postseason accolades rolled in for Holgersen’s offensive players as quarterback Brandon Weeden became the first OSU passer to earn first team all-Big 12 honors. He was a finalist for the Manning Award, given to the top quarterback in the nation.
Receiver Justin Blackmon was named the recipient of the 2010 Biletnikoff Award, given to the top receiver in the nation, and running back Kendall Hunter was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back.
West Virginia issued a prepared statement from Luck.
“It has recently been a difficult time for all of us who love Mountaineer football and our University. As a first comment, let me make this clear, the University has not substantiated any allegations of wrong doing on the part of Coach Stewart or his wife Karen Stewart. The University will have no further comment on those allegations."
You can follow @WSAZsports on twitter and stay logged on to WSAZ.com for updates as the story develops.
Stewart spent three years as the head coach of the program following a stint as the interim coach for the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck hired Dana Holgorsen as the Mountaineers' new offensive coordinator and also named the him as head coach in-waiting in December.
Holgorsen made headlines in May for being escorted out of the Mardis Gras Casino in Cross Lanes by police following an argument with staffers at the Casino bar. Holgorsen is now in line to take over for Stewart, who was set to coach coach his final season in 2011. Holgorsen was scheduled to be elevated in Stewart's place for the 2012 season.
Stewart's resignation comes on the heels of published reports which accused him of asking former West Virginia beat reporters to investigate Holgorsen and find dirt on him.
Stewart leaves West Virginia with a 28-12 record, including wins in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and the 2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl. The New Martinsville native never finished lower than tied for second place in the Big East and went 15-6 during three full seasons in the conference.
Stay tuned to WSAZ.com for more details as they become available.
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