On Thursday night, Dana Holgorsen will face his former team for the first time since he left West Virginia to take the head coaching gig at Houston in January 2019.
During his time at West Virginia (2011-18), Holgorsen held a 61-41 record and led the Mountaineers to bowl games in seven of his eight seasons in Morgantown. In three of those seasons, West Virginia ended the season ranked, with a 17th-place finish in the AP poll after winning the 2012 Orange Bowl over Clemson, 70-33.
Now, five seasons into his tenure at Houston, Holgorsen has a 29-23 record and had the best single-season record of his career with a 12-2 finish in 2021 and also tied his team’s best-ever final ranking at No. 17.
On Monday, Holgorsen opened up about his feelings on facing his former team for the first time.
“It’s a question I’m going to get all week this week, obviously,” Holgorsen told the media. “This is the first-ever meeting between West Virginia and Houston. At the end of the day, I’ve been in this situation a lot where you leave a place and you play them and all that. So the best way I’ve figured out how to approach it is to turn the phone off and go to work. This is for the fans. The fans get into that. I mean, I enjoyed my time at West Virginia, there’s no question. A lot of really, really, really good people and I know a lot of them are coming. It should make for an exciting game. But at the end of the day, it’s about me doing my job and getting my team ready to play.”
In his first game against the Mountaineers, Holgorsen says that he was “shocked” that his team wasn’t sent to Morgantown for the matchup.
“I’m shocked that didn’t happen,” Holgorsen said of not going to Morgantown for the matchup. “My prediction was Week 3, year one, that was going to happen. We’ll see them next year up there. They’re going to travel. They got a great fan base. Mountaineer Nation is alive and well. They’re playing well. They got tremendous support. They’re coming.”
West Virginia (4-1, 2-0) and Houston (2-3, 0-2) are set for a 6:00 p.m. kickoff on Thursday night, with the game being televised on FS1.