If you were not aware already, Dana Holgorsen has left WVU for Houston. A move many questioned as it is a perceived step down looking from the outside in. However, some information has come to light, namely Holgorsen’s contract, that could shed some light on why Holgorsen left.
The Houston Chronicle has published details of Holgorsen’s contract which is actually much more lucrative than originally reported. Holgorsen’s has received a 5 year deal with $18.5 million through 2023. Here is the kicker, that is his non-salaried compensation.
Holgorsen’s contract has a guaranteed salary of $3.7 million in 2019, $3.8 million in 2020, $4 million in 2021, $4.2 million in 2022 and $4.3 million in 2023. This will make Holgorsen the highest paid non-Power 5 coach in the country, actually by a long shot. The next closest would be Mike Norvell at Memphis who made $2.6 million this past season.
What is also significant is the money Houston has allotted Holgorsen for his coaching staff, $4.5 million. For comparison Holgorsen’s staff this past season totaled approximately $3.5 million.
While all of this is impressive and could shed some light on, at least partially, why Holgorsen left, it is a little incentive buried in the contract that caught my eye.
If Houston is invited to a Power Five conference while Holgorsen is the coach he will receive a $1 million incentive payment that is due within two. But it gets even better, there is an unspecified salary increase to accompany that bonus.
Could Dana Holgorsen really be a deciding factor that would make a conference, such as the Big 12, consider expanding with Houston?
Put me in the category of highly unlikely. UCF has been the self proclaimed national champions for almost two years and that has not garnered them any attention by Power 5 conferences. Did someone misinform Houston that Holgorsen played a large part in WVU gaining entry into the Big 12?
Houston has gone to great lengths to gain access into the Big 12, a conference primarily centered around the state of Texas. Over the last 6 years Houston has spent over $282 million to upgrade their athletic facilities in hopes of someone in Irvingm Texas (Big 12 headquarters) would notice. All that money did was get them an invitation to the American Conference.
I could go on about what Houston has done to gain entry into a conference in which they just stole the coach of its newest member but let’s be honest, no one reading this really cares.
Did Houston see an opportunity with negotiations breaking down between Holgorsen and WVU to make yet another investment to add to their Power 5 resume? Did donors pony up this money in hopes that Holgorsen could be the answer on the field to propel the Cougars back into the national spotlight?
Regardless, the fact of the matter is, if, and this is a huge if, the University of Houston gains entry into the Big 12 or any other Power 5 conference during Holgorsen’s tenure we all should expect a nice thank you card.