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  • 01/03/2008, 03:46PM ET

WVU Signing Bill Stewart to a 5-Year Deal Will Prove Disastrous

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So the Mountaineers knocked off Oklahoma, 48-28, in the Fiesta Bowl last night to take steps toward exorcising the demons of their defeat in the Backyard Brawl and loss of head coach Rich Rodriguez to Michigan. This morning, West Virginia announced that victorious interim coach was being hired full time, signed up for 5 years, $800,000/year...

West Virginia had a talented cast that was underestimated coming into this game. Bill Stewart, while he did a good job maintaining the composure of the Mountaineer squad, hardly is a worthwhile candidate for such a big full-time coaching position.

In his only head-coaching experience, Stewart went 8-25 during three seasons at VMI from 1994-1996. He has been a lifelong assistant who does a great job maintaining a rapport with his student players; but he is not the right man to oversee the entire WVU football program. In his best season at VMI, 1995, the Keydets set school scoring records (24.5 ppg) as tailback Thomas Haskins set the I-AA rushing record with 5349 yards yet managed only a 4-7 record...

Stewart will prove overmatched as the head coach of West Virginia... disagree? Jump into the debate!


Didnt people question the hiring Jim Tressel??? Comming from a very, very small school to a BIG 10 school with more tradition then 95% of DIV I schools...He completely dominated his conference rival. Thats more important to most OSU fans then winning the Bowl games they play...Even though he won at Youngstown, A DIV I-AA school, he still didnt have the "resume" to take a job like that......

You say....."He has been a lifelong assistant who does a great job maintaining a rapport with his student players; but he is not the right man to oversee the entire WVU football program."

1) Every Life long assiasnt coach deserves a shot.......

2) The rapport he builds with the student athletes will help out tremendously when it comes to recuriting. Last night, those WVU players wanted to play for Bill. You cant teach that, you cant buy it.....That is a "intangilble" that few coaches have......Plus, any player that commits to WVU will know that he will be there for thier collegiate career..Which wieghs heavily on recrtuits

3) He may not take them to a National Championship game, but he wont run the team into the ground either


The difference between Jim Tressel and Bill Stewart is night and day. At Youngstown State, Tressel led his team to four I-AA National Championships. Stewart's best season at VMI was his 4-7 1995 campaign. Tressel had proven his mettle... even while at a lesser school he built a winner. Stewart, in all his stops, has only last night's Fiesta Bowl victory -- with someone else's team -- to bolster his resume...

The rapport he built with the Mountaineers in guiding them to victory was great. But, if his teams start getting away from him, where will West Virginia be? Locked into a five-year contract, or paying for Stewart NOT to coach their team. College football is simply too volatile to be giving a five-year contract to an unproven coach.

I never intended, in this throwdown, to say that Stewart was a terrible hire. But the uncertainty surrounding him and his less-than-stellar track record warrant a shorter contract length. WVU has hamstrung themselves with their choice, and if the school starts going the way of VMI the only exit it will have is to buy out remaining year(s) on Stewart's contract. Five was simply too many to give to a lifetime 9-25 head coach...


You say......"But, if his teams start getting away from him, where will West Virginia be?"

Thats alot to base a "if" on....

What IF he becomes the Jason Garret of DIV I Football???

What if the 5 year contract lands a few blue chips because they know the guy who recruited them is also gonna be there the day the leave???

What if the rapport that he developed with the players he has now, carries over to next recruting class????

I agree that Stewart is less then Stellar, but what if they gave him a 2 year deal. Now that would be public knowledge. What HS player wants to go to a school where the coach that brought him there, wont be there after his sophmore year(assuming he was redshirted)???? They gave him that offer to get rid of any question marks regarding the coaching staff for the next 2 or 3 recruiting classes


Blue-chip prospects have already started to shy away from West Virginia. Terrelle Pryor, the top quarterback recruit in the nation , took West Virginia off his short list of schools as soon as Rich Rodriguez left... and is unlikely to put it back on simply because of Stewart's friendliness.

Boosters are already up in arms about this... just look at Ken Kendrick, WVU booster and managing partner of the Diamondbacks: "He is so overmatched it's not even funny. He's a nice guy and a father figure. But they had a wonderful architecht and they hired the painter to build the next house."

Jumping the gun on hiring a coach after a big bowl victory while under interim status rarely pays off. Just look at Michigan State after Nick Saban left for LSU. Then the RB coach, Bobby Williams was given the interim tag before the Citrus Bowl. After the Spartans stunned Florida, Williams was given full head-coaching duties. The Spartans went 16-17 thereafter under his command...

Stewart is an upstanding guy, likeable and WV native, no doubt. But his record is dismal, his boosters aren't backing him, and recruits aren't snapping their heads toward Morgantown. Stewart's 5 years will prove disastrous...


If Pryor took WVU off of his list when Rich left.....It was VERY, VERY unlikely that Pryor would have reconsiderd, no matter WHO they hired. If you remember there was quite a few canidates that truned the job down..So instead of being publicaly turnded down AGIAN, they promoted within, which can be a bad thing....or a good thing. We will have to wait and see.

From recent media leaks....It seems like boosters from WVU are a little hard to please.

I dont think they Jumped the gun. They contacted Terry Bowden, as well as the guy who is under Bobby Bowden at FSU ( his name escapes me at this time) So its not like Stewart was thier first option, but maybe thier best

With most of the starters comming back, you can expect WVU to be ranked in the top 15 of next seasons polls. If they can finish in the top 10, they will have the media attention to gain more recruits

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