There is a new twist to the Backyard Brawl -- West Virginia is expressing interest in a coach who was one of the top prospects for the Pitt job.
Sources confirmed today that a high-ranking official from West Virginia's athletic department has been in contact with Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen about the head coaching position at West Virginia, even as there is no vacancy.
Holgorsen had been among the top candidates for Pitt's job, but sources said late Monday afternoon that he was no longer being considered.
The West Virginia job would only come open if West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck fired Mountaineers coach Bill Stewart either before, or after, West Virginia plays in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 28 against North Carolina State. Luck declined to comment.
A source confirmed it is probable Stewart will be fired if West Virginia does not win that bowl game, and could happen regardless of the outcome. A win in the bowl game would give the Mountaineers a 10-win season.
The source also confirmed that West Virginia offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen's situation plays into the mix, as Mullen is a finalist for the head coach job at Kent State. If Mullen were to get the Kent State job, the source said the succession plan would be for Holgorsen to work under Stewart for one season as the offensive coordinator with the understanding that Stewart would retire after the 2011 season, making way for Holgorsen to become head coach.
The source indicated Stewart, whose contract runs through the 2013 season, is vehemently against such a plan and would resign before having Holgorsen work as a "coach in waiting" beneath him.
Holgorsen has ties to Luck. Holgorsen coached at Texas Tech from 2000-07 and at Houston from 2008-09 before going to Oklahoma State and still maintains a residence in Houston.
In 2001, Luck accepted a position a CEO of the Houston Sports Authority before becoming president of the Houston Dynamo soccer team in 2005. He became West Virginia's athletic director in June, but still maintains a residence in Houston.
When reached, both Luck and Stewart refused comment on the matter. Stewart has a 28-11 record in his three seasons as head coach at West Virginia, the second-most wins in West Virginia history through 39 games.