HOUSTON One of the nation’s top offensive minds, Dana Holgorsen has been named the 15th head coach in Houston Football history, Vice President for Athletics Chris Pezman announced Wednesday.
Holgorsen arrives in Houston after eight seasons in the same position at West Virginia and returns to Cullen Blvd. after serving as the Cougars’ offensive coordinator over the 2008-09 seasons.
The introduction press conference will take place Thursday at 2 p.m. in the TDECU Stadium Club and the public is invited to attend. For fans unable to make it in person, the press conference will stream on UHCougars.com and the Houston Football Facebook page.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dana back to Houston as the next leader of our Football program. His offensive acumen with an emphasis on student-athlete development, on and off the field, is a perfect fit for our program, University and city,” said Pezman. “We are looking forward to Dana connecting with our student-athletes and taking over a program that is primed for continued success at the highest level.”
Holgorsen closed out his tenure at West Virginia as the program’s second-most winningest coach, finishing with an eight-year record of 61-41. His 61 wins trailed only College Football Hall of Famer Don Nehlen for most wins in West Virginia history.
“I’m beyond excited for the opportunity to return to Houston and lead this program. This city and the University of Houston has unlimited potential and I am honored to be a part of it. I’d like to thank Tilman Feritta, Renu Khator and Chris Pezman for their trust in my plan,” said Holgorsen. “I look forward to meeting our student-athletes and establishing a culture that thrives on championship competition, on and off the field.”
Houston fans looking to secure season tickets for the opening of the Holgorsen era at TDECU Stadium can do so now by placing a $30 season ticket deposit at UHCougars.com/2019.
• Holgorsen closed his tenure at West Virginia as the second-winningest coach in Mountaineer history with an eight-year record of 61-41. His 61 wins trailed only College Football Hall of Famer Don Nehlen for most wins in West Virginia history.
• He led the Mountaineers to bowl games in seven of his eight seasons including each of the last five seasons. His first season at West Virginia ended with a 70-33 rout of Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
• Throughout his career, Holgorsen has had 21 players earn All-America honors, win 10 national awards and 14 national award finalist honors.
• He has displayed his ability to prepare players for the next level as West Virginia had 10 NFL draft picks in the first three rounds in the past seven years, second most in the Big 12 with at least one Top-15 draft pick in four of the past seven years. In all, he had four NFL Top-15 draft picks during the past seven years, the most in the Big 12, and 20 players drafted in seven years at WVU, tied for second-most in the Big 12 during that span.
• An offensive genius, his passing offenses and total offensive output have ranked in the Top 10 nationally all but four years during the 14-year span since he became offensive coordinator at Texas Tech in 2005.
• He's had eight quarterbacks pass for 4,000 or more yards and 10 throw for 30 or more touchdowns in a season with 20 receivers finishing with 1,000 or more yards in a season, including 11 finish with 90 or more receptions and 16 finish with double figure TD receptions in a season.
• He is the only coach in West Virginia history to have coached a team with at least 450 rushing yards in a game (Oklahoma, 2012) and at least 450 yards passing in a game (six times).
• He had 10 wins over Top 25 opponents in his eight-year tenure at WVU.
• West Virginia has been ranked in both major polls at least one week in seven of his eight years including the entire 2018 season with several weeks inside the top 10.
• In 2018, Holgorsen led a West Virginia team that was ranked every week during the season and finished the regular season with a No. 15/16 ranking in both major polls.
• Under his leadership, quarterback Will Grier finished No. 4 in the Heisman Trophy race and was a finalist for the Maxwell Award, The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the Senior CLASS Award and the Manning Award. Grier was ranked in the top 10 nationally in 11 offensive categories and seven categories in the top five.
• In addition to Grier, three players earned All-America honors in David Long Jr., David Sills V and Yodny Cajuste while Dante Stills was named a Freshman All-American.
• Long was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award while Cajuste was named Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year.
• West Virginia had a school-record eight players named to the All-Big 12 teams, including five on the first team with 16 players named to the Academic All-Big 12 first and second teams.
• The 2018 offense ranked No. 3 in passing offense, No. 4 in passing efficiency, No. 8 in total offense and fourth-down conversion, No. 9 in scoring offense, No. 12 in completion percentage and passing yards per completion and No. 25 in third-down conversion. The defense ranked No. 11 in tackles for loss, No. 28 in turnover margin, No. 28 in passes intercepted and No. 36 in third-down conversion defense.
• Outside of football, Holgorsen served as the chair of the WVU Medicine Children’s capital campaign, raising $60 million to build a new home for pediatric and maternal services.
• In 2017, he led the Mountaineers to a 7-6 record and 5-4 in the Big 12 Conference. WVU participated in its fourth-straight bowl game and sixth in the seven years under Holgorsen’s direction as it took on Utah in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
• In 2016, the AFCA District 4 Regional Coach of the Year and Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year finalist led the Mountaineers to a 10-3 overall mark and 7-2 record in the Big 12.
• His 2016 team achieved the ninth 10-win season in school history, becoming one of six WVU teams to do it in the regular season. Holgorsen is one of three WVU coaches, along with Nehlen and Rich Rodriguez, to post multiple 10-win seasons. The seven Big 12 wins were the most in a season, tying for second place in the standings, WVU’s highest finish. In the national rankings, WVU’s offense was ranked No. 17 in total offense, No. 20 in first down offense, No. 25 in rushing offense, No. 31 in pass efficiency, No. 37 in passing yards per completion and No. 42 in pass offense. Defensively, WVU was No. 24 in turnovers gained and fumbles recovered, No. 35 in passes intercepted and scoring defense and No. 38 in turnover margin. WVU placed 10 players on the Big 12 All-Academic teams and 16 of his 21 seniors had their degrees when they played in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
• In 2015, Holgorsen guided the Mountaineers to eight wins, the most since becoming a member of the Big 12 Conference, and finished the season with an exciting, 43-42 Cactus Bowl victory over Arizona State. The Cactus Bowl appearance saw the Mountaineers tie or break 19 individual or team, school and Cactus Bowl records and produced 11 NCAA top 10 bowl rankings. Nine players earned All-Big 12 Conference honors, including two being named to All-America teams. There were seven All-Big 12 Academic team selections and 17 players already had their degrees in hand when they played in the bowl game, ranking among the top 10 nationally in number of graduates playing in a bowl game.
• Holgorsen led the Mountaineers to a Liberty Bowl berth in 2014, his third bowl in four seasons at WVU. West Virginia posted a 7-6 overall record and 5-4 in its third year in the Big 12 Conference and finished in a tie for fourth place in Big 12 action.
• In 2013, Holgorsen coached the Mountaineers to victory over No. 11 Oklahoma State, marking his fifth win over a Top 25 team at WVU. He also had six players earn All-Big 12 Conference honors, including the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
• In 2012, Holgorsen led WVU into its first year of competition in the Big 12 Conference, guiding West Virginia to a 7-6 overall record and an appearance in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Five Mountaineers earned 25 All-America honors and three were drafted in the top three rounds of the NFL draft. Holgorsen is the only WVU coach to have had a first-round NFL draft choice for two consecutive years (2011 and 2012).
• Holgorsen had a successful first season at WVU in 2011, coaching the Mountaineers to a 10-3 record, the Big East championship and a 70-33 Orange Bowl rout of Clemson. The victory was WVU’s third Bowl Championship Series championship in school history and earned Holgorsen the First-Year Coach of the Year award by the Football Writers Association of America.
• Before West Virginia, Holgorsen spent the 2010 season as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State. He was a finalist for the 2010 Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant, and also named the rivals.com Offensive Coordinator of the Year. 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 helped lead the Cowboys to a school-record 10 wins during the regular season and a win in the Valero Alamo Bowl, after preseason predictions had OSU near the bottom of the Big 12 Conference.
• Postseason accolades rolled in for Holgorsen’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 won 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. Weeden, Hunter and Blackmon became only the second trio in NCAA history to pass for at least 3,000 yards, run for more than 1,500 yards and finish with more than 1,500 yards receiving in the same season.
• During his two-year tenure with Houston, his offenses put up explosive numbers, accounting for 563 yards of total offense per game, passing for 433.7 yards per game and totaling more than 42.2 points per game. His offense ranked No. 3 in total offense in 2008 and No. 1 in 2009. His quarterback, Case Keenum, led the nation in total offense in 2008 and 2009, totaling 403.2 yards per game as a sophomore and 416.4 yards his junior season. He also ranked among the Top 10 nationally in pass efficiency both years.
• Before his two-year stint with the Cougars, Holgorsen was a member of the coaching staff at Texas Tech from 2000-07, serving as the inside receivers coach from 2000-04, before being elevated to co-offensive coordinator in 2005 and offensive coordinator in 2006-07. During his time in Lubbock, his offenses increased the amount of yardage from 324.8 yards of total offense to 529.6, an increase of more than 200 yards per game. The Red Raiders were No. 7 nationally prior to Holgorsen becoming offensive coordinator and raised their yardage total to No. 4 in 2005, his first season directing the offense.
• In his two years as offensive coordinator, his squad was nationally ranked No. 8 in 2006 and No. 3 in 2007. In 2007, Texas Tech led the nation in passing (470.31), was No. 2 in total offense (529.62) and was No. 7 in scoring offense (40.9). Quarterback Graham Harrell led the nation in total offense and Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree led the nation in receptions per game and receiving yards per game. In 2006, the Red Raiders ranked No. 3 nationally in passing offense and No. 6 in total offense. Harrell once again was outstanding, finishing No. 3 nationally in total offense with 344.38 yards per game. Texas Tech led the nation in passing in 2005, was No. 4 in scoring offense (39.4) and No. 6 in total offense (495.83). Quarterback Cody Hodges was No. 2 in the nation with 396.08 yards per game.
• Holgorsen also spent time at Valdosta State (1993-95) as the quarterbacks, receivers and special teams coach, Mississippi College (1996-98) as the quarterbacks, receivers and special teams coach and at Wingate (1999) as the quarterbacks and receivers coach. While at Valdosta State in 1994, Chris Hatcher won the Harlon Hill Trophy, the NCAA Division II Player of the Year award, by the second largest vote margin in the 17-year history of the award. Hatcher won the award after throwing for 4,076 yards and 55 touchdowns, against just 10 interceptions, while completing 367 of 508 passes. Hatcher led Division II in passing efficiency during the regular season and directed VSU to its first Division II post-season appearance.