Monday, January 17, 2011

Lone Star flavor hits Big East ahead of TCU

TCU's official entry into the Big East is still about a year and a half away, but some schools have had the foresight to adapt to the conference's new footprint ahead of time.

West Virginia struck first, hiring Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen as their head coach in-waiting. He'll serve as the Mountaineers' OC next year before taking over for Bill Stewart as head coach in 2012. Holgorsen, who is regarding as one of the top offensive minds in the game, spent 10 years at Texas Tech and Houston before heading to Stillwater- so you know he can recruit in Texas. Smart move by WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck, who knows all about the elite high school football talent in this state- his son, Andrew, was a standout at Houston Stratford and will probably win the Heisman next year at Stanford.

Not to be outdone by their Backyard Brawl rivals, Pittsburgh went out and hired a guy that's been a head coach at both the high school and college levels in Texas, tapping Tulsa's Todd Graham as their new head coach. Before Tulsa, Graham was the head coach at Rice and was previously the head coach at Allen High School. He began his career as a high school assistant in the Metroplex as well as the San Antonio area. They also seem to be on the verge of hiring Todd Dodge as their QB Coach. Dodge was previously the head coach at UNT and is, at just 47, one of the most legendary high school coaches ever in Texas.

These are great hires by these two schools, who must've taken note of how the schools of the Mountain West benefitted from the presence of TCU and their increased exposure to Texas recruits. Big East teams have always recruited Florida (why else do you think they invited USF to join?), but the ones that recognize the new talent pool will be the ones to join TCU atop the conference standings in coming years.

UConn also came to Texas to find their new head coach- Cowboys' defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni. While Pasqualoni doesn't quite have the Texas roots of those other coaches- he's spent most of his career in the northeast and is most well known for his stint as Syracuse head coach from 1991-2004- he has spent four years living in Dallas while coaching with the Cowboys, so he's probably made a fair amount of contacts down here as well.

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