MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–West Virginia will meet Utah in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl on December 26 and while the Mountaineers and the Utes aren’t familiar foes, WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen has some ties to a member of his opponents’ coaching staff.
While at Iowa Wesleyan College, Holgorsen and Utah’s director of strength and conditioning for football were friends and roommates.
“Now our strength coach Doug Elisaia was coach Holgorsen’s roommate in college so I got all the dirt on coach Holgorsen,” Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham joked during Sunday’s teleconference.
During college, Elisaia played the part of Holgorsen’s bodyguard.
“Well, I could never beat him up,” Holgorsen said. “Doug Elisaia was approximately 6-foot-1 and 290-pounds and was really a bad dude. I never tested him. He protected me most of the time. I’m not going to test him here in the pre-game and hopefully he can protect me from anything that can go awry there in pre-game.”
All joking aside, Holgorsen has a lot of respect for his former cohort.
“He’s really a good guy, done a great job for coach Whittingham there, been there for a long time there with him and does a great job with their guys.”
The Utes’ coach returns the sentiment.
“Doug says he’s a great guy and I think it was Wesleyan College or something like that is where they worked,” Whittingham said “And coach (Mike) Leach was there ironically enough as well. He was the offensive line coach. Doug’s shared with me through the years, some of the experiences he had with Dana and he says he’s a terrific guy.”
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