How does the old saying go, “winning cures all?” For Shane Lyons 2016 is all about winning and nothing else. Lyons, who met informally with the media last Friday, stated, “My job is helping him (WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen) focus on winning and giving him the resources necessary to win,” when asked about Holgorsen’s contract.
Holgorsen still has two years remaining of his six year extension he signed in 2012. However, his contract has been an ongoing topic of conversation since last season. Just a few days after the Mountaineers 2015 regular season finale Lyons addressed the status of Holgorsen’s employment at WVU;
“Dana Holgorsen will return as our head football coach in 2016. After evaluating our football program after the close of the regular season, I believe that continuity is best for our program.
“I know that Dana, his staff and everyone who supports Mountaineer football was disappointed with how our regular season ended, following a four-game winning streak.
“Dana and I will continue to work together to strengthen our football program. No one wants to win more than Dana and I, and we will work together to ensure success.”
While the statement guaranteed Holgorsen’s return in 2016 it did not say much for seasons to follow. In early February BGS learned that Lyons and Holgorsen were in the midst of renegotiating the current contract. In late February Lyons announced that negotiations had broken down between the two parties stating, ““There will be no change in Dana’s contract at this time.”
In between Lyons statement guaranteeing Holgorsen’s return in 2016 and announcing that contract negotiations had broken down something interesting occurred that again led to speculation. In late December defensive coordinator Tony Gibson’s contract was amended. That amended was pegged by many as the “Holgorsen clause.”
Gibson’s original contract stated that his employment was guaranteed as long as Holgorsen remained the head coach. The amended contract removed that wording and simply guaranteed the contract through 2017. If that didn’t lead to enough speculation then came the announcement in May of this year stating that Gibson had been promoted in title to associate head coach.
Many felt the amended contract and subsequent title change were leading to a potential change atop the Mountaineers staff. If that is the case is definitely won’t be before or during the 2016 season.
Whether or not winning cures all is yet to be known. However, for the time being when it comes to Holgorsen’s contract Lyons stance is clear, “We’ve put that behind us; we’ve moved on. Now we’re going to focus on winning games.”