Entire Fanbase Holding Their Breath

Bill Stewart is our new head coach. Now what?

Well, I have absolutely no idea. I’m not sure anyone else does, either.

I want to believe in the guy. I really do. He obviously loves his players, this university, and this state. These are all great qualities. But, it takes more than just that to win long-term at the highest levels of college football. Coach Bill Stewart has a lot of question marks, including recruiting, assembling his staff, schemes, etc.

It is impossible to judge this hire today. There are simply too many things that will be decided in the next few months. If Stewart can translate that aw-shucks charm into genuine recruiting momentum, then we’ll be fine. If he can take last night’s destruction and turn it into a season’s worth of good play, then we’ll be fine. And lastly, if he can assemble the best staff possible, including keeping as many current staff in place, we’ll be fine.

Can he do those things? Time will certainly tell. It’s certainly a tall task, especially from someone with little head-coaching experience.

But by saying all the right things, he’s earned the benefit of the doubt from me. I hope the rest of the fanbase gives him the same.

28 Responses

  1. There are too many ifs involved for this to work out the way we hope.

  2. Coach Stew earned a shot from me last night. Do I have my doubts? Sure. But I would have doubts about any of the candidates that were being discussed. The team played their most inspired football in two seasons at a time when they should have fallen apart. It is vital that Mountaineer Nation get behind him as he assembles his staff and hits the recruiting trail.

    Any chance of Magee staying? If not, we should name Rod Smith Offensive Coordinator before he gets away. Getting a solid staff is my biggest concern. I’m afraid that RR will take everyone he wants and we’ll be stuck with his “leftovers”…

  3. I’m going to say I predicted all of this yesterday. I also predicted we’d go 8-25 the next there years and play our 2011 home games at Webster County High School due to asbestos removal at Mountaineer Field.

    I’m going to support the heck out of Stewart, but this has the same feeling as when Larry Coker was hired at Miami. He had a great first season, but the program started eroding around him.

    I have a good looking coaches theory. Look at the top programs of the last 10 years:

    I can think of 8, maybe I’m missing a few but I think the theory still applies.
    USC-Pete Carroll
    Ohio State- Jim Tressel
    Florida – Urban Meyer
    LSU – Les Miles
    West Virginia – previously what’s his name
    Georgia – Mark Richt
    Oklahoma – Bob Stoops
    Auburn- Tommy Tuberville

    Think of the coaches, they all look basically the same +/-10 years. They’re in their 40’s or early 50’s in good shape and generally good looking guys (no homo). That has to help with recruiting

    think it’s going to be hard to win over that 4 star guy when your coach is 55, and looks 75 and pants pulled up to his nipples.

    Let’s Go Mountaineers, I hope I’m wrong.

  4. Hopefully this just wasn’t cost control. All the other coach-want-to-be’s were wanting alot more money. Could this be part of the power struggle in the AD we have been hearing about? Let’s hope for the best and not a return of Nehlenstyle football- -you know- – just making sure you win 6 games so you will be bowl eligible. Wishing you great luck in the future- Coach Stew

  5. woody—that’s exactly what I am scared of and I believe you hit the nail on the head.
    I’m behind him all the way, even though he is a clone of Don Nehlen.

  6. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Hey, he may not be a marquee name, but he’s certainly earned the right to try his hand at this. He was having more fun out there last night than DickRod ever did, and his players did,too. He’s earned a shot and if he’s not up to the task I’ll bet he’ll be the first to admit it.

  7. I couldn’t agree with you more, Charley.

    Biggest problem with Mountaineer football for as long as I’ve followed Mountaineer football has been blowing the big chances when they came. Not only did Stewart guide these guys to and through that incredible game last night and earn the shot, he led the team to the biggest victory in school history at a time when Mountianeer football needed big headlines.

    His folksy handling of the media earlier in the week (his big splash as the Coach Stew Show) makes me look at him like the Andy Griffith of college coaching: wilier than he’ll ever let on and strong enough to lead without a gun.

    So what if the AD spends all next year scheming who possible replacements could be if it all goes to hell. That’s exactly what they should be doing anyway. The whole Fraudrigrez debaucle this year (after last year) should have clued them in that a good AD never goes without other coaching prospects in mind. Besides, they’d be doing the same thing if they’d lured Fisher (because he just might go back to FSU when Bowden retired) or Bowden (because he sucked after the first year at his last stint ten years ago) or Holliday (because he’s unproven at the top).

    Stewart’s earned the respect and the shot. The possibilities for this team of players next year is mind-boggling. They (the players) clearly had made their decision. At least the talent on-field is happy for now. I believe those players will keep us fans happy.

  8. These guys love this guy, recruits watched the game, they heard what they had to say. That will go a long way for short term recruiting. CBS (coach bill stewart) is going to be coaching these same guys that LOVE him next year. If we win a national championship, win a BCS game etc…. next year, he will be able to carry this momentum into the future. I feel that Larry Coker got hurt by recruiting the wrong kind of 5 star. I think CBS will do a good job of getting the right 3-4 star kids who dont end up in federal prison. (I.E. the downfall of Coker)

    I love this hire for now, but like any good politician will have plenty of amo to go after it if it flops. But i can guarantee you that the atacks will not be against CBS because he has earned my absolute respect for the rest of my life.

  9. Your buddy Brian Cook seems to think that Stew’s hiring will lead to complete chaos within 3 years.

    http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/01/03/west-virginia-hired-bobby-williams/#cont

    Good thing he’s not biased or anything…

  10. This was the worst hire they could have made. It was an emotional hire which is always the worst kind to make. Last night he was just a guy with the headset. Magee ran the offense (gone to Michigan), Casteel ran the defense (probably gone as well). If can’t keep the assistants, which will be tough because Michigans budget for assistants is $600,000 more that WVU.

    It is time for Pastilong to go. These BCS games were good while they lasted. Now we hire a second rate coach.

    The Big boosters are even more upset now than before. You should hear some of Kendricks statements.

    A great win was ruined by this terrible hire. We were on the verge of being a top tier program now we are a laughing stock.

    I wixh at my job I could have one good night and get promoted throwing everything else out the window…

    What a terrible terrible move………..

  11. Ken Kendrick is officially on my list. Says he to ESPN: WV had a wonderful architect, and hired the painter to build the new house. What an elitist, asinine thing to say, and before the ink was dry on the box score of one of the program’s biggest wins!

    So why couldn’t this great architect fashion a win over 4-7 Pitt?

    If I could talk to this guy, I’d say, look Kendrick, this is not the bad old days in the SEC. Boosters don’t run this program. If you’re unhappy, that’s your right. But if you truly love your university, stop going out of your way to badmouth it in such a public way. If you must make public statements, bite your tongue and make some bland, general statement of support and goodwill. Then shut up and go to work behind the scenes.

    But no. This guy, unsolicited, called up an ALABAMA (!) columnist to complain about the RR situation. Going to the Pittsburgh media is bad enough. But Alabama? What does Alabama care about this This guy is just a shameless RR apologist.
    http://www.al.com/sports/huntsvilletimes/jpruett.ssf?/base/sports/1199268928270400.xml&coll=1

  12. Did anyone hear the circumstances that caused Bill Stewart to leave VMI? This was reported on ESPN today – http://www.inrich.com/cva/ric/sports.apx.-content-articles-RTD-2008-01-03-0269.html

    I’m afraid that this will be a recruiting nightmare.

  13. I saw that. I have also seen ringing endorsements of Stewart from African-Americans, including Pat White, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, and this Mr. Haskins quoted in the article linked by WVUEric. The Worldwide Leader seems to be leaving this other side of the story out of its reporting.

  14. I agree. They only said enough to make it sound horrible… Not the actual story…

  15. Kendricks connections with ESPN are pushing the negative side of this story. It is sad that the World Wide leader is no longer a news organization. They create the story rather than report on what occurred.

    Agendas abound and we are normally on the losing end. I know poor us waawaawaa but this time it is true.

  16. Can we just breathe for a minute and stop all the gossip and coach ripping and enjoy this win for cryin out loud? Bill Stewart deserves this opportunity, he was the glue that held this team together for the past month.As for the VMI story, he may have had 3 dismal seasons there but come on, its VMI, how wel do they recruit and frankly he ONLY had 3 seasons, two were most likely with the team he inherited.

    Are our lives SO bad that we need to find the fault in everything before we give it a fair shake? I am not defending the AD, he should be investigated but so should RR. Tell me, can anyone remember when RR gave his assistants credit for anything> I remember when he blamed coaching for unpreparedness. Stewart is a people person, not selfish like Rod. He shares the victories and takes responsibility for the defeats. Dont underestimate this guy, he will take us to a National Championship in 08.

  17. Speaking of Mike Tomlin, he apparently made some calls on behalf of Stew:

    http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=332829

  18. Something none of us likes, but must be faced. ESPN is reporting the reason Stew resigned from VMI was because he knew he was going to be fired for using a racial slur toward one of his players. Whole story or not, true or not, tell me this will not affect his recruiting.
    It will be used by every school trying to recruit the same players we are. Sad, but true.

  19. Before folks get negative again, let’s take a few days to enjoy both the victory and the good story that is before us.

    Coach Stew has been around for a lot of years and has a lot of experience. He helped do something great for WVU at the Fiesta Bowl after a lot of pretty negative stuff. Let’s give the man a chance to do his stuff before we start getting on his case. He’s got a lot to work with and a lot of momentum moving forward into the future.

    Personally, I hope he succeeds, continuing to make Mountaineer fans everywhere proud. WVU could do a lot worse, and some of the names discussed here fall into that category.

  20. Not quite on topic, but this is the most recent thread on the site. For my money, the best article about last night’s win is here:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/arash_markazi/01/03/fiesta.bowl/index.html

    And it includes the best line (other than Fox’s reference to Owen’s TD as akin to a “runaway beer truck”): “Every dink and dunk Oklahoma threw at them was met with the thunderous thud of a Mountaineer defender.”

  21. Well, here’s a more balanced article about Stew from ESPN.com. Better late than never, I guess.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3178538

  22. Love that Stewart is getting props from guys like Tomlin.

    He will have some detractors, those that wanted Saban/Bowden/Jimbo, but really this guy oozes class.

    What a class act before and after the game. He is a Coaches Coach.

    When I asked a guy from Sistersville, who Graduated with Stewart, who kept in contact with him, he said “Stewart is a Ball Coach, just a Good ‘Ol Ball Coach.”

    We may have just made the hire of the decade. When we go play in the NC game next year, I hope we don’t say “It was RR’s players” RR Choked on Pitt. Reminds me of the teacher on South Park, Ms. Chokesondicks.

  23. Neal has a point. Let’s not forget to enjoy the win. And to take stock of the whole season. And the seniors! Winningest class in school history, weren’t they? They sure went out in style.

    And this just hit me, although intellectually I knew it. Owen Schmitt’s career is over. I’m so glad he got to go out on a high note.

  24. What is the word on recruits and coaches. Stewart’s first priority. Josh Jenkins for example.

  25. I’m with Neal, Couch.

    Let’s enjoy this win. Let’s live in the fact that we’re a top tier program. That we ARE — Rodriguez legacy, especially on this board of late has basically been about what “could have been” and not really about what he actually did. He left. You can argue that these are his guys, but he left and when he was coaching them, they lost to Pitt. I think last night you can argue the possibility that Rich Rod might just be an assistant coach with a Head Coach ego. We’ve got great players. We’ve got a great team. Schmitt, White, Slaton, Devine – Great Kids. Stewart realizes that. Realizes it’s about them. And he didn’t just win with them, he kicked some ass with them. Look, if he’s a blistering success, he’s not going to be around for 20 years. Last night, he earned the chance. Look, Pat White didn’t need to say “I think he should be our head coach.” He could have easily have left that part out — Let me ask you? Do you want somebody Pat White wants coaching our team or somebody Stewart Mandel … or for that matter Kendricks or Cockdriguez?

    We’re going to be fine. We have got to stop this fucking negativity. We’ve got to expect excellence, but we also have to let it happen. We were excellent last night. Under Stewart. Here’s the facts:

    We lose to a shitty Pitt team when Rodriguez is coaching.
    We beat the shit out of a strong Oklahoma team when Stewart is coaching.

    At this moment – Stewart is the only choice. IF he fucks up against Auburn, then we can start considering that maybe we need another person for the job, but for now, let’s give this guy a chance.

    And glib, you can enjoy watching Owen on Sunday afternoons. That guy ran himself into the NFL last night.

  26. I have something to say to Ken Kendrick. I understand how he feels. As older alums, we have seen our program always get the best of the second best. The best that could be bought for less! The Admin always gets the new guy cheap with credentials. Just enough credentials that it can be said, “he is qualified” BUT never a “put the money where your mouth is” head coach. We’ve never said “we are now an elite school with the winningest record in 1A (without a National Championship) and NOW we are going to snake another elite schools coach for a million more than they’re paying him”… Or even just HIRE an experienced 1-A HEAD COACH for that matter.

    Not unlike myself, Kendrick is asking himself, “will I LIVE LONG ENOUGH to see my alma mater win a National Championship?” or even “be considered an elite power by the press for more than a year”?
    KEN, IF YOU ARE LIKE ME, AND MANY OTHER ALUMS WITH THESE SAME QUESTIONS..
    PLEASE!! DO SOMETHING WE CAN’T!!

    PONY UP A $7.5 BILLION ENDOWMENT LIKE MICHIGAN’S OR A $3.8 BILLION ENDOWMENT LIKE OKLAHOMA’S OR EVEN 1 FRICKIN $BILLION TO WVU WOULD DO!!
    IT WOULD BE ALOT MORE THAN THE $350 million endowment that we currently have EVEN with your $12 million from last year OR your $1 million from this year!

    PUT UP OR SHUT UP AND STOP EMBARRASSING YOUR SCHOOL IN OUR TIME OF GLORY!
    Now go pick on somebody with your own kinda money. You’re embarrassing us.
    Pathetic Rich Prick!
    And to think I liked you last year before you started running your egocentric trap… and you turned out to be just another power hungry rich guy trying to use your money as a podium and power play your own school for publicity.
    AND IF THATS NOT TRUE THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL EP, ADMIN AND THE TRUSTIES INSTEAD OF ESPN!!
    It’s real easy, Ken will give WVU $1Billion (with a B) Dollars, as long as WVU hires a 1A coach with a record of 600 or higher, OR give me right of refusal on hiring any coach! —–You know they’d do it. INSTEAD YOU GO CRYING TO ESPN!

    I hope Stewey wins every game and the National Championship next year! Just so you can admit you and the money you didn’t donate, to get you the right to bitch, was WRONG. You Freeekin SNAKE! Ur Diamondback.. whatever.

  27. My question to everyone is?

    Was RR highly known or recruited when we hired him, I dont remember that he was? I was also a drunk Sophmore when they hired him but I dont remember everyone calling him the savior.

    Feel free to let me know.

  28. Naysayers would be moaning and gripping about ANYBODY who would be hired as head coach in terms of picking up the pieces in recruiting and the rest of the sh*t that RR dumped on us on his way out. The Fiesta win was GIANT and no naysayer can diminish the future-saving cred it brought to the program.

    Let’s give the man ALL of our support…he said it, and I believe it (VASTLY unlike the false football “profit” RR, the freakin’ liar) that if he can’t cut it, he’ll step down.

    Oh yeah, dissing Stew, who personally pulled our asses DEEP out of the crapper, in lieu of a “name” coach would have been a serious, cold-blooded affront to what makes most of us great West Virginians truly believe, that superior performance is to be rewarded and advanced, not crapped on in favor of perceived greener pastures.

    And if you stii have a place in your heart for RR, you are one sick SOB.

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