Holgorsen Returns To His Roots
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The next time we all come across Dana Holgorsen expect to see him with covering that disheveled coif of his with one of those $5,000 Stetson Men’s Diamante 1000X Fur Felt cowboy hats, a string tie and a pair of Lucchese Men’s Handmade McKinley Dark Cognac Nile Crocodile Western Boots — Snip Toe, which are on sale for $2,500 online right now.
Might even have himself a guitar, strumming away and signing:
“I’m an old cowhand from the Rio Grande,
“My legs ain’t bowed and my cheeks ain’t tanned,
“I’m a cowboy who never saw a cow
“Never roped a steer ‘cause I don’t know how
“Sure ain’t a fixing to start in now
“Oh, yippie yi yo kayah, yippie yi yo kayah”
See, he’s back where he wanted to be all along.
I don’t know, maybe as a kid growing up in Iowa he saw too many Clint Eastwood westerns and thought he was The Outlaw Josey Wales, but somehow he wound up with Houston.
Four years at Texas Tech, a couple of years at Houston … he came to know his way around the saloons and the football fields.
In truth, Texas living is a unique form of life, a good form. You can drive from Morgantown to Charleston in West Virginia in an hour and a half. It takes you longer than that to drive from downtown to the Houston Airport.
It’s a state made for Dana Holgorsen and city made for him. Where else could they have built the Houston Astrodome, billed it as the Eighth Wonder of the World, our first dome, then tried to grow grass in it.
Might have worked, too, had outfielders been able to see fly balls through the clear roof, that had to be painted so the grass wouldn’t grow.
Undaunted, they invented AstroTurf.
Anyone who has seen the innovation Holgorsen puts into his offense knows he belongs where they came up with artificial grass.
Rest assured, Holgorsen is the most unusual football coach to come to Houston since Bum Phillips. Now Bum Phillips was a piece of work in jeans and cowboy hat and boots.
Think he and Dana Holgorsen aren’t alike? Listen in on this quote from Bum Phillips.
“Winning is only half of it. Having fun is the other half.”
And Bum Phillips understood how frustrated Holgorsen had to be by his inability to beat Oklahoma.
He was in the same division as the Steel Curtain Steelers.
“The road to the Super Bowl runs through Pittsburgh. Sooner or later, you got to go to Pittsburgh.”
He occasionally beat the Steelers, but, then again, he had a running back named Earl Campbell.
Now Houston may have the Astros and the Rockets and didn’t Oliver Luck, who brought him to WVU, once run the Sports Authority and the professional soccer team there?
But it’s a football town in a football state, king of high school football, which Holgorsen has to love, needing only a Uber ride to go recruit the best athletes, a perk he did not enjoy at West Virginia.
And in many ways it has a “second city complex”, the Dallas-Fort Worth area owning the Cowboys, which have come to symbolize sports in Texas.
Houston has always played second fiddle to the likes of Texas, TCU, Baylor, Texas A&M and all the state schools that were in the old Southwest Conference and have Power 5 status.
To get on equal footing simply gnaws at them. Think it didn’t hurt when Tom Herman, who got them back up in the rankings, jumped to Texas, of all places?
So to the Cougars, this was a huge hire. They took a winning Power 5 Conference coach, a coach with strong media ties and with a unique personality to match his unique offense and brought him in to reach for the stars.
The problem is that no one knows if Holgorsen can really do that. The Houston president had boasted that they “fire coaches with 8-4 records”, they wanted to have a team that consistently won 10 games, but they hired in Holgorsen a coach with an 8-4 record that followed a 7-6 season.
If Holgorsen is capable of taking a team a level higher than he took WVU, he’s a great hire for Houston.