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Chuck Landon: Holgorsen gambling on future at WVU

May. 30, 2011 @ 10:37 AM

Maybe now we know why the University of Pittsburgh passed on Dana Holgorsen.

West Virginia University's new football offensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting came to the state with a reputation of being a partier.

But, apparently WVU wasn't too concerned about Holgorsen's character because it hired him to replace Bill Stewart in 2012 and gave him a six-year, $14.275 million contract.

Guess what?

WVU officials care now.

Holgorsen has reportedly been involved in at least three and, perhaps, as many as six alcohol-related incidents in the last six months, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

That's right, six.

The first five were hushed up, but the sixth incident at Mardi Gras Casino in Cross Lanes on May 18 has blown the cover off Holgorsen's embarrassing antics. Nitro police were called to the casino at about 3:20 a.m. on May 18 to remove an apparently intoxicated customer who didn't want to leave. Holgorsen was asked to step outside, sit on a bench and await a taxi. No charges were filed.

That sent WVU into damage control.

WVU athletic director Oliver Luck was summoned back to Morgantown from a Big East Conference athletic directors meeting by school president James Clements, according to sources. WVU's president reportedly told Luck that if he read one more article about the coach-in-waiting, it would cost Luck his job.

A predictable mea culpa statement from Holgorsen followed, saying, "I will not put myself in that situation again."

But, is he ready to turn over a new leaf?

The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register reported Saturday that Holgorsen allegedly was asked to leave both a bar inside Oglebay Park and, later, at Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino and Racetrack earlier this year.

Sources say there was also an incident at Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport, W.Va., which involved Holgerson being told to leave and not come back. And, then, there are rumors of three incidents at the Morgantown hotel in which he lives, including being banned from the hotel bar.

Also, there are allegations he was asked to leave the Union Pub And Grill in Huntington on Oct. 28, 2008. That's the night Marshall upset Houston, 37-23, at Edwards Stadium in a game nationally televised by ESPN. Holgorsen was the Cougars' offensive coordinator.

"I can't say for sure," said Herb Stanley, long-time owner of The Union. "That was the game when the Houston receiver (Patrick Edwards) suffered that broken leg.

"The ESPN guys were in here after the game watching the replay and they were talking about how bad that was. There were a couple of Marshall facilities guys in here, too, and it did get pretty heated.

"So, it's entirely possible."

What isn't possible is removing the egg from WVU's face.

When gambling is one of the prime issues in collegiate athletics and Holgorsen is tossed from two casinos in a matter of months, how does WVU spin that?

And how can Holgorsen legitimately discipline players for breaking curfew or being intoxicated?

Those are questions without answers.

Meanwhile, Luck is busy trying to get permission to sell beer inside Mountaineer Field.

And, now, I think I know why.

Maybe, it's so Holgorsen won't have to leave the stadium at halftime.

Chuck Landon is a columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827. Email him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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