One of the all-time greats in West Virginia University history is headed back home to God’s Country.
WVU announced in a press release Sunday that Stedman Bailey will join Dana Holgorsen‘s staff as a student assistant coach. Bailey will enroll full-time at WVU to complete his bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies, an enrollment that will allow him to serve in this new capacity.
In November of last year, Bailey was shot twice in the head while he was sitting in his car with his family in Miami. The Los Angeles Rams, who made Bailey a third-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft, waived the wide receiver with a non-football injury designation last month, although Bailey still hopes to resume his playing career at some point.
“I know Stedman is very disappointed that he isn’t able to play football at this time. However, I am glad that he is going to turn an unfortunate situation into a positive one by coming back to WVU as a student assistant coach and more importantly finishing his degree,” Holgorsen said in a statement. “He was an important part of our football program as a player, and I look forward to him being with us once again. Like we say here – once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer.”
“First of all, I would like to thank the Los Angeles Rams organization, my teammates, coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Les Snead and the ownership for the way they have taken care of me and my family since they drafted me. They’re a first-class organization and made me feel like part of the family, especially during the past few months, which have been a tough time,” Bailey said in his statement.
“Moving forward, I would like to thank West Virginia University, especially coach Dana Holgorsen and athletic director Shane Lyons for making this opportunity available. Even though my playing career isn’t over yet, this gives me more time to heal so I can make a return. However, It is important to me to finish my degree. I loved my time as a Mountaineer football player and I look forward to working with coach Holgorsen and the Mountaineer football program.”
Bailey started 34 games in his WVU career, and his 41 receiving touchdowns are the most in school history. He also holds the record for most 100-yard receiving games, while his 3,218 receiving yards are the second-most in school history. As a junior, he finished with a school-record tying 114 catches for a school-record 1,622 yards and 25 touchdowns. The receiving touchdowns tied for the second-most all-time in a season nationally.
In two-plus seasons with the Rams, he has caught 59 passes for 843 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“We couldn’t be happier for Stedman and this opportunity he has to complete his degree and join West Virginia’s coaching staff,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said. “His presence during our offseason program meant a great deal to his teammates, and his mentorship was invaluable to our young rookies. Stedman’s ability to teach, and his remarkable drive and determination will serve him well at West Virginia, and we wish him and his family the best as they step into the next chapter of their lives.”