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Report: Dana Holgorsen’s WVU fate still hasn’t been decided

As it stands now, there are no current head coach openings at Power Five programs. Depending on how things play out in Morgantown, however, that could change.

It’s been three days since West Virginia closed out its 2015 regular season with a disappointing road loss to Kansas State, dropping the Mountaineers to 7-5 on the season. Four of those losses came in a row against teams (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, TCU) currently ranked in the College Football Playoff Top 25, leading some to believe that Holgorsen’s job at WVU is safe.

While that may end up being the case, it’s not a certainty. From the Charleston Gazette-Mail:

Now, though, there’s a decision to be made: fire Holgorsen or retain the coach.

As of Monday evening, the decision had not been made. All of the principals — Gee, Lyons and Holgorsen — were in New York. The WVU basketball team is playing a high-profile game tonight at Madison Square Garden against Virginia. There are Big 12 meetings going on. There are College Football Hall of Fame ceremonies going on. Lyons is a speaker at a sports business clinic.

When reached Monday, Lyons said he had no comment on Holgorsen’s status. Reliable sources, however, have said the athletic director and coach have talked about the situation a couple times. Those discussions will continue in the coming days.

That said, there are two reasons why Holgorsen likely (probably? maybe?) isn’t going anywhere this year. Or, more accurately, there are several million and one reasons.

First and perhaps foremost, it would cost nearly $9 million to jettison the contracts of Holgorsen and his staff at this point. In an October report, the Gazette-Mail wrote that athletic director Shane Lyons “would have to spend around $15 million to clean house and pay a new staff the first year.”

Which brings us to the second reason for it being unlikely Holgorsen is let go now right now: timing. As noted, the coaching carousel has nearly come to a stop, at least when it comes to Power Five teams, and the pool of available replacements is a decidedly shallow one; just where would Lyons turn if he were to dump Holgorsen now? Tom Herman would’ve been an option, but it seems he’s happy staying in Houston until another Big 12 job comes open. They could go with a coordinator with no head-coaching experience, but that’s the route Lyons’ predecessor, Oliver Luck, took with Holgorsen and it’s unknown if the current AD would want to go down that path this “late” in the process.

The combination of financials and timing likely buys Holgorsen one more season. I’ll say this, though, living in the heart of God’s Country: 90 percent of the people I know want him gone post-haste, regardless of the money involved or the available candidates. Shortsighted, yes, but it just shows how, even if he gets another year, Holgorsen had better win in 2016 -- and that doesn’t mean going 7-6 with a Liberty or Pinstripe Bowl loss, either.

Holgorsen is completing his fifth season with the Mountaineers. This is now his team with his players. In his first season in 2011, with Bill Stewart‘s/Rich Rodriguez‘s players, Holgorsen went 10-3 and won the Orange Bowl. Since then, as the players have transitioned into strictly his own, WVU has gone 25-25 the past four years. Most distressing is a 15-21 mark since moving into the Big 12.

The time to cut bait on Holgorsen may have already passed this year -- maybe -- but there’s little doubt the 45-year-old will be on one of the hottest seats in the country when, and if, his 2016 season rolls around.