Dana Holgorsen assumes full-time offense coordinator duties this season after serving a co-capacity the previous two years. Highly sought after by programs around the country for his offensive creativity, Holgorsen has stayed the course at Texas Tech and begins his eighth season with Mike Leach on the South Plains.
While Tech quarterbacks have had a plethora of targets to choose from the last seven seasons, Holgorsen's group of inside receivers have been some of the most productive year-in and year-out. From Derek Dorris to Wes Welker to Robert Johnson, several Red Raider receivers became better players for time spent under Holgorsen's wing.
During his first seven seasons, Holgorsen's position players have made tremendous contributions to the Red Raider passing attack. Quarterback-turned-receiver Robert Johnson was the latest in what's becoming a factory of top-notch inside receivers for Texas Tech. Despite only two years at Tech, the former junior college All-American quarterback quickly emerged as one of the top receivers in the country, earning Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year honors in 2005. Last season he totaled 11 touchdown receptions and teamed with wide receiver Joel Filani as the only duo on school history to record 10 or more touchdowns each in a single season.
Undoubtedly, Holgorsen's most prized pupil, current Miami Dolphin team captain Wes Welker will go down as one of the greatest players overall in Tech history. Welker ascended from obscurity in Mike Leach's first recruiting class in 2000 and quickly made people forget about his small stature. The All-Big 12 Conference performer set a then-school record of 259 career receptions in 2003 and caught 21 touchdown passes over his four seasons to rank among Tech's top five. Known as the "Little Engine that Could," Welker also holds the school record for career receiving yards with 3,069. Additionally, Welker set NCAA records in career punt returns, punt return yards and punt returns for touchdowns.
Other players flourished under Holgorsen's tutelage, including Nehemiah Glover (2,575 yards, 21 TD), Mickey Peters (2,318 yards, 22 TD) and 2004 third-team All-American Trey Haverty (1,019 yards in 2004).
Holgorsen began his coaching career at Valdosta State in 1993, where Mike Leach was the offensive coordinator. Multi-tasking as the quarterbacks, wide receivers and special teams coach, Holgorsen molded his offensive philosophy over the next three seasons. VSU quarterback Chris Hatcher played his final two seasons under Holgorsen and set an NCAA record, competing 74.7 percent of his passes on the Division II level in 1994. Hatcher's 10,588 passing yards ranked third on the NCAA career list at the time and is currently among the top 20. Additionally, Hatcher still ranks second in the NCAA record books in career touchdown passes (116) and third in single-season touchdown passes (50 in 1994) and was the NCAA passing champion in 1994.
Holgorsen carried the same duties to Mississippi College in 1996, where he worked on the Choctaw staff for three seasons. Receiver Vance Audry became a sensation during Holgorsen's tenure, setting school career records in receiving yards and receptions. Receiver Matt Murphy also had an outstanding career, ranking second with 18 career touchdowns.
Mississippi College won the American Southwest Conference in it first season in the league and averaged 432.0 yards per game.
A year outside of joining the Texas Tech coaching staff, Holgorsen was the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Wingate University, where the program set numerous offensive records and led the Southern Atlantic Conference in several offensive categories. WU averaged 409.0 yards of total offense, ranking second in league play, and led with 304.1 passing yards per game. The team's quarterback picked up all-conference honors and was a Harlan Hill semifinalist as Division II's player of the year. Two receivers also received honors, one being named freshman of the year and the other landing all-conference accolades. Holgorsen's top two receivers ranked second and third nationally in receiving yards per game.
Holgorsen's ties with Leach began while Holgorsen was a wide receiver in Leach's offense at Iowa Wesleyan from 1990-92. Holgorsen earned a degree from IWU in 1993 and a master's in health and physical education from Valdosta State in 1995.
Holgorsen has three children; McClayne, Logan and Karlyn.