CHARLESTON — West Virginia University has granted the University of Houston permission to interview football coach Dana Holgorsen.
West Virginia confirmed to the Charleston Gazette-Mail that Houston has reached out and was given the green light to speak to Holgorsen. Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel was the first to report Houston's contact with WVU, while Stadium's Brett McMurphy was the first to have WVU agreeing to the request.
Houston fired former coach Major Applewhite on Sunday after two seasons. The Cougars finished 8-5 this season but suffered a 70-14 loss to Army in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Holgorsen's current contact with WVU paid him $3.6 million this season. He would be in line to make $11.1 between now and when that contract ends in 2021. There is, however, a buyout included should Holgorsen decided to leave Morgrantown before the contract is up. That buyout is $2.5 million prior to the first day of 2019 - Tuesday. After then, however, the buyout dropped to $1 million.
If a deal is to be reached between UH and Holgorsen, it is not expected to come until that buyout drops.
Houston was one of Holgorsen's stops during his climb through the coaching ranks. Holgorsen spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons as Kevin Sumlin's highly-successful offensive coordinator before leaving the Cougars to take the same job at Oklahoma State.
Holgorsen spent one season in Stillwater, Oklahoma, before coming to West Virginia as the offensive coordinator and "coach in waiting" prior to the 2011 season. Then-Mountaineer coach Bill Stewart resigned amid controversy before the season could begin, with Holgorsen taking over as the WVU head coach.
In eight seasons since, Holgorsen has a 61-41 overall record. His first team won a share of the Big East Conference title and famously pounded Clemson in the 2012 Orange Bowl. Since then, however, Holgorsen's WVU teams have not won a conference championship in the Big 12 and are 1-5 in bowl appearances, including last week's 34-18 loss against Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl.