Bill Stewart

Stewart situation is a disappointing one


Bill Stewart’s short tenure at West Virginia was marked by a lot of criticisms from the 60,000 head coaches sitting in the stands of Mountaineer Field on Saturdays.

Many didn’t think the man knew what he was doing, even though Stewart can lay claim to over 30 years of coaching experience at 12 different locations.

There were those who gnashed their teeth at then-offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen’s play calling, partially blaming Stewart in the process for not firing Mullen. But Stewart also deserved credit for keeping defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and hiring several solid defensive assistants when he started his time as head coach.

Yes, there were plenty of criticisms of Stewart. Some were justified, others not so much. But Stewart’s saving grace has always been his character. No one could honestly say Stewart was a bad guy who didn’t care about his players.

He is a great family man, a good husband to his wife and father to both his son, Blaine, and the sons he coaches on the field.

Which is why the latest allegations that Stewart and/or his wife may have leaked information about Holgorsen are disappointing.

It would be more disappointing if they turned out to be true.

Such crookedness would go completely against what Stewart has stood for his entire life. Upon accepting the job at WVU, Stewart claimed he wanted his players to be great “fathers, husbands, men of faith and contributors to society.” He said his handshake was his word.

Normally, clichés such as those are scoffed at in this day and age, but there was something old-fashioned, and, yes, a bit cheesy, about Stewart that made those promises more believable.

Stewart and Jim Tressel’s situation at Ohio State are hardly similar, but they are nevertheless two individuals who have been known to be upstanding — and believable — guys. One has already crashed and burned mightily. If the words of former Pitsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Colin Dunlap are true, Stewart might not be far behind.

Stewart’s professional reputation would be tarnished as well. Stewart will never be regarded as one of the great WVU coaches, but if the Mountaineers achieved any kind of success this season, he would be remembered as the coach who successfully bridged the gap between Rich Rodriguez and Dana Holgorsen with little drop-off.

Instead, we have this situation.

To believe in the coach-in-waiting move wholly was probably naïve; a deeper look under the surface shows something insidious.

“In retrospect, we can all second guess.  Would I do it again? I don’t know,” said WVU athletic director Oliver Luck on a Pittsburgh’s 93.7  The Fan earlier today about his coach-in-waiting situation.

The melodrama of the past two weeks would suggest turning that phrase from “I don’t know” to simply “no”.

But there were opportunities to say “no” the first time. Stewart could have resigned at the end of the 2010 season as his “amended contract” gave him the option to do. Or, Luck simply could have fired Stewart without cause and paid a handsome buyout of about $2.5 million.

There was money involved, so it’s pretty obvious what the answer was going to be. Whether that answer was mutually agreed upon among Stewart, Holgorsen and Luck is still unclear.

Still, there’s a price for every decision. And not all of them amount to dollars and cents.


Dalvin Cook remains day-to-day for FSU vs. Miami

Dalvin Cook
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One of the more underrated storylines heading into Week 6 continued its tack of uncertainty Tuesday.

During the first quarter of Florida State’s win over Wake Forest this past Saturday, Dalvin Cook tweaked his hamstring and didn’t return to the contest.  The sophomore running back was initially labeled as day-to-day for this weekend’s game against Miami, and that hasn’t changed as Jimbo Fisher reaffirmed that Cook’s status for the in-state rivalry game remains up in the air.

We’ll keep waiting,” the head coach said, adding that, because of Cook’s knowledge of the offense, he could sit out of practice the entire week and still take the field against the Hurricanes.

“He knows what to do, you can keep him healthy and do that there’s no doubt about that,” Fisher said.

Cook is far and away FSU’s leading rusher, with his 142.5 yards per game good for eight in the country and his six rushing touchdowns tied for 20th. The Seminoles’ No. 2 rusher, Mario Pender, is still dealing with the aftereffects of a collapsed lung that will sideline him for at least another week.

Ryan Simmons, one of Okla. St.’s ‘unquestioned leaders,’ out for rest of 2015

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 16:  Ryan Simmons #52 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys brings down Jaxon Shipley #8 of the Texas Longhorns during a game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Austin, Texas.  Oklahoma State won the game 38-13.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Oklahoma State’s defense has taken what will likely prove to be a very significant and impactful blow.

On Twitter as well as Instagram late Tuesday night, Ryan Simmons announced that he “recently tore my MCL & PCL which will require surgery.” As a result, Simmons, who was injured in the Week 5 win over Kansas State, will miss the remainder of the 2015 season, even as OSU has yet to officially confirm the linebacker’s status moving forward.

Because Simmons is a senior, and this is his final season of eligibility, the end of his 2015 season would also mean the end of his collegiate career.

Simmons has started the last 31 games for the Cowboys. He was second on the team in tackles last season, and his 26 career tackles for loss makes him OSU’s active leader in that category as well.

On his official bio, it’s written that Simmons is “[o]ne of the unquestioned leaders of the team, both on and off the field.”