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DANA HOLGORSEN, EXPERT NEGOTIATOR

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AN EDSBS EXCLUSIVE

David Purdy/Getty Images

Recently, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported that negotiations between West Virginia and Dana Holgorsen on a contract extension have come to a standstill. Through dogged Freedom of Information requests, we acquired a transcript of the last meeting between the two parties.

(Tuesday, February 16, 2:27, West Virginia University Athletic Department offices)

ATHLETIC DIRECTOR SHANE LYONS: He's almost half an hour late. This is the kind of behavior that makes me wonder why we're even bothering to have these discussions. If Dana's not going to t-

(The door swings open suddenly.)

BIG MOUTH BILLY BASS: LOOKS LIKE WE MADE IT

DANA HOLGORSEN: Sorry to keep you guys waiting. Billy here overslept.

LYONS: We called the office number you gave last week to confirm.

BILLY BASS: SO NEXT TIME YOU'RE LONELY / DON'T CALL ON ME / TRY THE OPERATOR / MAYBE SHE'LL BE FREE

LYONS: ...and I suppose that's why it went straight to an abandoned Hollywood Video voicemail. I've asked our general counsel to attend this meeting to, um, confirm that you've selected a new agent of your own free will.

LAWYER: Coach, you're aware that your currently being represented by an, um, animatronic fish with a - well, I'm not sure what that is attached to it.

HOLGORSEN: That's a Sanyo MP3 player. Eight bucks at Big Lots, and it came with a free three liter of grape soda. Pretty much my go-to Christmas gift these days.

LYONS: Admittedly, once we figured out a way to harness their surprisingly combustible nature, that soda was a real help to the University.

LAWYER: Shane, I have to reiterate the immense risk we're running with that program. If the government finds out we're misleading them with our transit initi-

LYONS: How is it misleading? P-R-T: Purple Rocket Train. Can you just do what I asked you to do here already?

LAWYER: Fine. Coach, I just need you to sign here to verify that you're knowingly and willingly trusting your contract negotiations to an improperly wired toy fish.

HOLGORSEN: Whatever you say, Hack McCoy.

LAWYER: Thank you. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go to a deposition. We're getting sued by injured fans from that little pepperoni roll grenade launcher stunt Bob Huggins pulled. How is this even my life?

BILLY BASS: FROM THIS MOMENT / LIFE HAS BEGUN

LYONS: Dana, I'm going to be blunt.

(Holgorsen pulls out a lighter excitedly.)

LYONS: Not like that.

(He considers putting the lightere away but leaves it on the table. Just in case.)

LYONS: Right now, we're at something of a crossroads. Since the program moved to the Big 12, you've taken the team to a bowl game in three seasons out of four, and given the step up in conference competition, that could be considered reasonably successful. You've also got some good wins in that stretch: a couple each over Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Texas, by my count.

HOLGORSEN: Man, I really enjoy coaching against Charlie Strong. I just ask him to sign my Tae Bo DVD before the game and he's totally fuckin flustered, man.

LYONS: There is a concern, however, that program's reached something of a ceiling under your guidance.

HOLGORSEN: Wait, did you search the ceiling in my office?

LYONS: No, Dana, I'm merely s-

HOLGORSEN: You show me a goddamn warrant right now!

LYONS: Dana, please sit down. it's just a figure of speech. Nobody's searched your office. What I'm trying to say is very simple. When I was hired here, my goal was to honestly assess each team and find opportunities for improvement, holding them to the highest possible standard across the board. That's the approach we took at Alabama-

BILLY BASS: OHHHH YOU THINK YOU'RE SOMETHING SPECIAL

HOLGORSEN: You tell him, Billy.

LYONS: Dana, I don't think there's anything wrong with learning from the success I saw in Tuscaloos-

BILLY BASS: OHHH YOU THINK YOU'RE SOMETHING ELSE

HOLGORSEN: Shane, don't push him on this.

LYONS: Listen! I didn't work my ass off helping to build the Crims-

BILLY BASS: THAT DON'T IMPRESS ME MUCH

HOLGORSEN: Told ya, man.

LYONS: (sighing) Fine, Dana. Let's talk about the future. Say we give you, I don't know, a four year extension. What goals do you have for the team over that time period?

HOLGORSEN: I'd like to let my agent lay that out, if you don't mind.

BILLY BASS: NO INHIBITIONS / MAKE NO CONDITIONS / GET A LITTLE OUTTA LINE

LYONS: Dana...

HOLGORSEN: Please let him finish.

BILLY BASS: I AIN'T GONNA ACT POLITICALLY CORRECT / I ONLY WANNA HAVE A GOOD TIME

LYONS: DANA! These aren't concrete goals! Did you seriously think you could just waltz in here with a goddamn novelty toy and walk out with a new contract? And why the hell didn't you put anything except Shania Twain on this thing?

HOLGORSEN: She represents what I'm trying to accomplish. This Canadian lady comes in, total unknown. Doesn't have a particularly privileged background, doesn't have the connections or name to give her a leg up over anyone. Spends year after year struggling, with a lot of almost-but-not-quites, getting passed over. Logically, she should give up. But she keeps grinding, somehow, and then it all comes together. All that work, all that sacrifice turns into the thing she's dreamed of the whole time. Shania Twain gets to number one.

LYONS: Wow. That...that's surprisingly poignant. I'm sorry, Dana.

HOLGORSEN: Plus she winds up getting all kinds of free shit in Vegas, which, I mean, that's kind of the main goal.

LYONS: Get out.

BILLY BASS: COME ON BABY TELL ME - YOU MUST BE JOKING RIGHT?

LYONS: OUT.