WVU’s Lyons Puts Brakes On Holgorsen Rumors, Reports
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Much of Thursday was spent with unfounded rumors flying everywhere about Dana Holgorsen and the Texas Tech head coaching job that has gone to Matt Wells, who led Utah State to a 10-2 record this year.
The rumors began indicating that Holgorsen, who has coached eight years at West Virginia but who had a long assistanceship at Texas Tech, expressed interest in replacing Kliff Kingbury as the Red Raiders coach but that athletic director Kirby Hocutt said he was not interested in interviewing him for the job.
WVU athletic director Shane Lyons, on Thursday afternoon, interceded and threw water on what might have become a raging brush fire by saying Holgorsen had indicated to him in a recent conversation that he planned to remain at WVU.
“I am not going into detail regarding various reports in the media,” Lyons said. “However, what I will say is that Coach Holgorsen and I have had great conversations this week, and he has made it very clear to me that he wants to be the head football coach at West Virginia University.
“He and his staff are currently out recruiting for the future of our program. I want him here at WVU and intend to keep working with him and his staff to improve and bring a Big 12 Championship to Morgantown.”
Holgorsen’s contract, renegotiated before last season, has a clause that says he must notify Lyons of his intention to begin negotiations with any other school about their coaching position.
Holgorsen has three seasons left on his contract. He will be paid $3.7 million next year, $3.8 million in 2020 and $4 million in 2021.
The Mountaineers finished the recent regular season on a down note with losses to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma to finish at 8-3 and lose any chance at a major bowl. They also missed a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship Game with a 59-56 loss to the Sooners in the season finale.
They now are awaiting to learn which bowl in which they will play with it looking as if they will play either in the Alamo Bowl of the Camping World Bowl.
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West Virginia University senior quarterback Will Grier has been named one of 11 finalists for the 2018 Manning Award., as announced by the organization on Thursday.
The winner will be named after the bowls in January and will be honored at a ceremony in New Orleans. The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that takes the candidates’ bowl performances into consideration in its balloting.
The finalists include: Ian Book, Jr., Notre Dame; Jake Fromm, So., Georgia; Grier; Dwayne Haskins, So., Ohio State; D’Eriq King, Jr., Houston; Trevor Lawrence, Fr., Clemson; Drew Lock, Sr., Missouri; McKenzie Milton, Jr., UCF; Gardner Minshew, Washington State; Kyler Murray, Oklahoma, and Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama.
Grier passed for 3,864 yards and 37 touchdowns and also has scored three on the ground.
Grier also has been named a Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year Award finalist, Maxwell Award finalist, a top-5 finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award.
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Texas State officially named WVU offensive coordinator Jake Spavital as its new head coach on Thursday and he will be introduced in a press conference at 11:00 a.m. Friday.
“This was a quick, but very deliberative process and we got a great person to lead the Bobcat football program,” Director of Athletics Larry Teis said. “He has one of the best offensive minds in the country and loves explosive offenses. I knew that he was our guy when it took 22 hours to get here and he still wanted to take a tour of our facilities this morning at 1 a.m. We finalized the contract at noon today.”