Holgorsen, Khator have high expectations
UH Athletics introduced Dana Holgorsen as the football team’s new head coach on Thursday afternoon in front of hundreds of fans, media and members of the team.
The theme of the press conference was high expectations.
“(UH) is not a stepping stone. I’ve been there and done all that. I am interested in making this place great,” Holgorsen said.
Holgorsen was head coach at West Virginia in the Big XII for seven season and the Big East for one season. Previously, he was an offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.
Chairman of the Board of Regents Tilman Fertitta started the press conference and said the Board of Regents wanted a good coach, but also one that was not looking ahead for their next job.
“We wanted somebody that had the leadership skills to win a lot of games. We’re not going to say what we demand anymore because I’ve read it all over the country over the last two weeks,” Fertitta said.
In 2016, Chancellor Renu Khator reportedly said that UH would fire coaches that go 8-4 and success was defined as 10-2.
“I don’t want to go anywhere that does not have those expectations. Not only is there expectations like that with the football program, but it’s like that across the entire campus,” Holgorsen said, citing the 14-0 basketball team, the medical school and other programs.
Khator herself did not shy away from her past comments and said her expectations have not changed much, if at all.
“If we want to be nationally relevant, there are certain important elements. The first one of them is having a winning program. I don’t know any other way of making a program relevant if we are not winning,” Khator said.
The University has invested a lot into Holgorsen, who is set to make $20 million over the next five seasons, making him the highest paid coach in the Group of Five conferences.
“We got to have an excellent athletics program, because that what is an asset to the University. A mediocre program is not an asset, it is a liability,” said Khator.
If Holgorsen leaves after the first season, the buyout is $12.9 million, after the second, it is $9.1 million, $7.1 million after the third, which all but assures that Holgorsen will stay for at least three seasons.
Holgorsen will also have $4.5 millions to build his coaching staff, which is ties Nebraska for No. 19 in the nation in assistant coach salaries. The total assistant salaries in 2018 were $2.136 million.
Holgorsen also praised the quality of life in Houston which he said would help his family and also help him recruit. Holgorsen said his son, Logan, is actually enrolling at the University in the spring after graduating high school a semester early.
“What this program has is the opportunity to win, to win big and win championships,” Holgorsen said.
Correction: An earlier version of the story said that Holgorsen worked at Oklahoma. That is incorrect as Holgorsen previously worked at Oklahoma State.