After almost a week of mourning, friends and family converged on Morgantown, West Virginia to say farewell and pay tribute to former football coach Bill Stewart.
Stewart passed away on Monday after suffering an apparent heart attack while playing a round of golf. These past few years had been up and down for Stewart. Roughly five years ago, Stewart was named the full-time head coach of West Virginia after filling in as the interim coach when Rich Rodriguez left to become the head coach at Michigan. Stewart then led the Mountaineers to a dominant victory over Oklahoma in that year’s Fiesta Bowl.
This surprising victory was essentially the highlight of Stewart’s tenure in Morgantown. A few years later, West Virginia hired his successor Dana Holgorsen to be the offensive coordinator/coach-in-waiting. The hiring of Holgorsen caused the relationship between Stewart and the University to deteriorate. Eventually, this combined with questionable actions by Stewart, led to his early removal from the program.
One interesting anecdote about Stewart was released recently by the AP. Before the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma, Stewart said to his team,
“You stay within the legal limits of the game. It’s Mountaineer pride. Nothing cheap!”
It’s been a rough few months for football. With the Saints Bounty Gate controversy still in the national headlines, it’s good to hear that there are still some coaches who value the people who play the game more than the actual game itself.
Stewart may not have been a perfect man. That being said, though, an action like this allowed the world to see some of the positive values still being taught by some in the locker room.