We Must Ignite This Couch Articles

Goodbye, Bill Stewart

By Jude
2012/05/23

[Note- Segments of this post appeared in the 2011 post entitled "The Bill Stewart Era- 2008-2011". I've updated it for obvious reasons.]

On Monday afternoon, just about every Mountaineer fan around the nation either sent or received a text message conveying a message that seemed hard to believe- Former WVU Head Coach Bill Stewart passed away after collapsing suddenly while golfing at Stonewall Jackson Resort.

In this era of instant communication and social media, reactions came pouring out from seemingly every corner of the country, from former players to fellow coaches to journalists to United States Senators. Most sentiments were eerily similar. "Really, really nice guy. Molded men. Thoughts and prayers to his wife and son."

Mountaineer fans flocked to message boards like the one on this site to express their own sentiments and remembrances, and Stewart's legendary "Leave No Doubt" speech before WVU's 2007-2008 Fiesta Bowl win over #3 Oklahoma was posted and reposted again by folks who simply couldn't believe that the guy who represented the State of West Virginia like no other university coach ever before was gone so suddenly.




Bill Stewart's finest moment as WVU Head Coach made its rounds following the stunning announcement that he was gone.


And as is only human, many writers, bloggers, and message board posters wanted to find a way to put into context what Bill Stewart's legacy would be now that his own time on Earth had been cut entirely too short.

Adding to the difficulty of summarizing his time at West Virginia was the circumstances that led to his departure from the program, which, truth be told, feels like it happened a lot longer ago than it did. It feels unseemly to analyze wins and losses by a football team playing a game, or to talk the events that led to his dismissal. A man has died, and it's only human nature to want to focus on all the positive aspects of his time with us rather than dwelling on the unpleasant times.

In recent days I've read just about every piece that's come out trying to capture the essence of both Bill Stewart as a man and Bill Stewart as a football coach at West Virginia University. From articles like this one from wvillustrated.com warmly remembering time spent with Coach Stewart to this one at scout.com referring the Bill Stewart era as the bridge to the Big 12, to this one from wvmetronews.com arguing that Stew deserved better than he got from WVU when it was over, to this bizarre article from msnsportsnet.com comparing Stewart to Harry Truman.

I think it's possible to acknowledge that Bill Stewart was a really nice guy and a really good representative of both the State of West Virginia and West Virginia University without the need to lionize his time as WVU head coach and the successes and failures both on and off the field.

He wasn't perfect (and wouldn't claim to be) and wasn't the modern incarnation of Bear Bryant. He was a uniquely cheerful and kind-hearted coach in an era that seems to produce neither. He obviously had a tremendous impact on hundreds if not thousands of young men who he molded to be better citizens, scholars, husbands, fathers, friends, Christians, and Americans. His success in that regard can be found in the warm remembrances and well-wishes of his players following the news of his passing.




Stewart will be remembered more for his role in shaping lives than in molding wins and losses.


As far as on-the-field accomplishments, the Bill Stewart Era will be remembered as a period of transition for the West Virginia Mountaineer football program. Stewart possessed none of the dynamism of either his predecessor or his successor, and largely stewarded the program in an adequate, if not always satisfactory manner for WVU fans who'd grown accustomed to BCS Bowl trips during the Rich Rodriguez era. But one thing was certain- Stewart sure did love West Virginia University, the Mountaineers, and the State of West Virginia.

At the time Stewart was hired, even though everyone involved understood that he wasn't necessarily going to revolutionize any aspect of Mountaineer football, a steady hand on the tiller seemed like the right direction for the program. Some complained at the time of the hiring and even more complained after seasons that seemed lackluster compared to other recent successes. Ultimately, Stewart's 28-12 career mark included a .700 winning percentage that ranks fifth among all WVU head coaches. The desire for more success than that seemed vindicated this past January when Stewart's replacement, Dana Holgorsen, guided Stewart's players to a Big East Championship and BCS Bowl win over Clemson in the Orange Bowl. (Stewart hadn't won a bowl since the 2008-2009 season.)

Off the field, Stewart graduated his players at a rate of 90%, which is exceptional in modern major college football, and was a major step up from where Rich Rodriguez left the program. Stewart understood that his "lads" were in Morgantown for more than just football, and prepared a great number of them for the life they would ultimately lead after they wore their Mountaineer jerseys for the last time.

In his 3 years as Head Coach, Stewart was a fine representative of the State of West Virginia, even while sometimes going on rants in press conferences that no one really understood. Stewart understood the importance of the program to the state in general, and also understood the pride that West Virginians have in their One True Team.

Say what you will about how he went out (we'll get to that in a bit), but we knew that being Head Coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers was just about as good of a gig as 'Ol Billy Stew could possibly imagine. WVU fans don't know yet if Dana Holgorsen has the same love of Old Gold 'N Blue deep in his heart or if his eyes start to wander at the first coaching vacancy at a Name School, but we knew with certainty where Bill Stewart's heart would always remain. When he said in his initial press conference that being Head Coach of WVU was his last job, we believed him.




Being the Head Coach of West Virginia University was Bill Stewart's dream job, and it seemed like he appreciated that fact every second of his time there.


Ultimately it was this passion for his job that led to his resignation a year before originally anticipated. While Dana Holgorsen was brought in to steer the Mountaineers in a different direction on the field after a third disappointing season, the Coach-In-Waiting succession plan was expected to work expressly BECAUSE Bill Stewart had a reputation as a high-character individual that would never put his own interests before the interests of the University.

The particulars of the events leading to Bill Stewart's eventual resignation can be found in this article from last year, but suffice it to say that in his own misguided way, it's very possible that Stewart believed he was acting in the best interest of his team, University, and state by providing information to the press that would prevent Dana Holgorsen from embarrassing the program after he eventually took over as head coach.

Maybe Stewart thought it was worth it even if he had to fall on the sword.

After news broke of his involvement in leaking damaging information about his successor to the press (and the subsequent public reaction clamoring for his head), Stewart agreed to a sizable buyout that ended his tenure as Mountaineer Head Coach. He did so in a respectable manner befitting a man who took so much pride in being a Mountaineer. While a press conference was held to anoint his successor, Stewart spoke only through a statement provided to the WVU Athletic Department:

"As I said on the day I was appointed head coach, what is best for WVU is my first priority. Today, I am doing what I believe to be in the best interest of the Mountaineer Nation."

Ultimately, Bill Stewart himself knew that his time at WVU was going to be analyzed mostly for what happened between the lines, but he judged his value by a far higher standard. As this quote from his obituary notes:

“I’m going to be judged on the wins. I know that. However, what I do with these young men’s lives, I’m being judged by the MASTER COACH. And that’s why I lay down every night and sleep very well.”

So it's possible to remember a man fondly without reconstructing history. Sure, many of us wanted more wins from our head football coach, but we also know that we can't forget that Bill Stewart set the standard for how damn proud the Head Coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers should be to hold that position.

He will be remembered for changing the lives of countless young men who, to a man, say that he made them better people.

He will be remembered as being as fine an ambassador for the State of West Virginia and West Virginia University as we will ever see.

He will be remembered for being a genuinely nice, caring, thoughtful, and gracious person and a devoted father, husband, and Christian.

And if you can say all those things about me when I shuffle off this mortal plane, I'll consider my life a success.

God bless Bill Stewart and his family. A grateful Mountaineer nation sends out its thoughts and prayers to you all.
Read Jude's weBLog | Comments (14) | Trackback (0)
Trackback URL of this entry
http://www.wemustignitethiscouch.com/modules/weblog/weblog-tb.php/3338
Printer Friendly Page Send this Blog to a Friend
The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.
Poster Thread
BeastoftheEast
Posted: 5/23/2012 5:12 pm  Updated: 5/23/2012 5:12 pm
WMITC
Joined: 7/21/2006
From: Boone County, WV
Posts: 12935
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
Very good article.

He has truly set the bar high for how we should act as human beings.
OldEERS
Posted: 5/23/2012 5:41 pm  Updated: 5/23/2012 5:41 pm
Grant Ave. Warrior
Joined: 8/3/2007
From: hinton
Posts: 948
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
Jude..Well done. The last part..about his legacy, brought tears to my eyes..again. Thanks.
MountyInSC
Posted: 5/24/2012 10:19 am  Updated: 5/24/2012 10:19 am
Gettin' Schmitty
Joined: 1/18/2008
From:
Posts: 7874
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
Nice Job
WVisHome
Posted: 5/24/2012 1:26 pm  Updated: 5/24/2012 1:26 pm
Joined: 4/9/2008
From: Wilderness, VA via Hacker Valley, WV
Posts: 11529
Online!
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
Damnit Jude...just when I thought I could read another article without getting misty...


To Coach Stewart....

From Almost Heaven to Heaven.

navi8orgirl
Posted: 5/24/2012 4:51 pm  Updated: 5/24/2012 4:51 pm
WMITC
Joined: 2/9/2006
From: Houston, TX
Posts: 3724
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
Well said, Jude.
ncohen
Posted: 5/24/2012 10:12 pm  Updated: 5/24/2012 10:12 pm
Grant Ave. Warrior
Joined: 9/20/2009
From: austin, tx
Posts: 881
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
Great article! Stewart was a good man.
eer44fan
Posted: 5/25/2012 10:02 pm  Updated: 5/25/2012 10:02 pm
Makin' it Rain
Joined: 3/24/2008
From: Here
Posts: 3015
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
Jude, well done and well stated.

RIP Coach.
MusictomyEER
Posted: 5/26/2012 1:15 pm  Updated: 5/26/2012 1:15 pm
Here for the Beer
Joined: 4/9/2008
From: Unfortunately, ohio
Posts: 475
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
Very nicely done, Jude. Rest in Peace, Coach Stewart. Once a Mountaineer, Always a Mountaineer.
oldgold
Posted: 5/26/2012 1:52 pm  Updated: 5/26/2012 1:52 pm
Here for the Beer
Joined: 12/20/2007
From: Ohio
Posts: 322
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
“I’m going to be judged on the wins. I know that. However, what I do with these young men’s lives, I’m being judged by the MASTER COACH. And that’s why I lay down every night and sleep very well.”

Probably summed it up the best. Thank you, Coach Stew!
wvumitch
Posted: 5/30/2012 11:26 pm  Updated: 5/30/2012 11:26 pm
Party Machine
Joined: 1/9/2008
From: Spring Hill, TN
Posts: 613
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
Great article Jude... may we all live our lives such that we are remembered as fondly as Coach Stew...
wooddash
Posted: 6/1/2012 10:22 pm  Updated: 6/1/2012 10:24 pm
Pitt Hater
Joined: 12/20/2007
From: Rockville, MD
Posts: 1977
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
He should have strived for a better Offensive Coordinater. That and being a head coach, he should have given up special teams from the get go. I wish I had his job. I wouldn't have done it better. Best job in the world for a regular WVU person.

Thanks, Coach. Thanks for the memories.
wvuengineer
Posted: 6/12/2012 8:51 pm  Updated: 6/12/2012 8:51 pm
Pitt Hater
Joined: 2/8/2008
From: Huntington, WV
Posts: 1775
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
Every year since 2007, I've created a "Tailgate CD" with a bunch of WVU related songs, sound bytes, etc. Coach's speech has been on there ever since. I took it off last year since he wasn't the HC anymore.

It's back on there, just like Country Roads. God Speed, Coach.
zoltanban5
Posted: 8/19/2014 2:55 am  Updated: 8/19/2014 2:55 am
Suspected Punter
Joined: 8/16/2014
From:
Posts: 73
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
Recall that the Breitling Replica King Gold is the name of a from 18-carat gold with an alloy specially developed by Hublot. This Breitling Replica watches alloy is mostly obtained by the addition of 5% of the melted Gold Platinum, and Replica Breitling watches gives it the more intense red color. The exact composition of this alloy is certified and secret. The bracelet meanwhile is in back of black alligator stitched black rubber and red stitching.
korsu001
Posted: 8/29/2014 8:28 pm  Updated: 8/29/2014 8:28 pm
Noob
Joined: 8/29/2014
From:
Posts: 49
 Re: Goodbye, Bill Stewart
really montre pas cher ralph lauren michael kors bags however michael kors handbags Ray ban Sunglasses Frame Types rayban "viral". jordan shoes michael kors outlet canada goose outlet Whenever oakley outlet mulberry maccosmetics.com bitcoin oakley sunglasses cheap free run louis vuitton outlet online should reebok outlet nike air max longchamp go Replica Tag Heuer Watches true religion montre homme "Gangnam north face jackets supra for sale michael kors handbags clearance style" oakley sunglasses outlet uggs on sale hollister france you'd abercrombie ugg boots ralph lauren outlet online probably cheap oakley sunglasses ferragamo shoes louboutin far celine handbags sac lancel ugg boots better polo shirts michael kors handbags burberry factory outlet be Replica Rado Watches Oakley Gascan Sunglasses ralph lauren uk all raybans michaelkors.com Oakley C Six Sunglasses set. Oakley Polarized Sunglasses polo ralph lauren polo ralph lauren pas cher At uggs outlet Michael Kors Outlet Online Value Spree ray ban this rosh run nike free longchamp moment sac michael kors mulberry handbags nike roshe run concurrently coach factory outlet new balance shoes moncler typically nike air max burberry pas cher jimmy choo shoes the ralph lauren polo michael kors uk tn pas cher disagreement lululemon outlet louboutin shoes rayban might Oakley Crankcase Sunglass michael kors outlet online wedding dresses 2014 manufactured gucci louboutin outlet ray ban sunglasses that Replica Audemars Piguet nike huarache longchamp the ray bans oakley gucci outlet individual oakley sunglasses cheap cheap sunglasses Replica Cartier Watches who tory burch outlet online longchamp outlet ugg got kate spade outlet soccer jerseys coach factory outlet bitcoins ugg outlet polo shirts oakley sunglasses outlet for oakley vault nike free pas cher louis vuitton November lancel nike roshes instyler ionic styler 31st, air max uggs tiffanys 2012 montre femme air jordan pas cher yoga pants and nike free run pas cher gucci outlet online Oakley Half Jacket Sunglasses also babyliss pro michael kors outlet online sale hogan performed Oakley Radar Range Sunglasses louis vuitton purses bottes ugg pas cher these air max hollister uk ralph lauren pas cher people hollister Michael Kors Outlet Online Crossbody Bags nike trainers in red bottom shoes ray ban sunglasses outlet ray ban uk these louis vuitton bags louis vuitton vans days longchamp bags canada goose oakley vault is chanel handbags Oakley Batwolf Sunglasses karen millen definitely asics gel cheap michael kors Oakley Jupiter Squared upward ray ban nike store lancel pas cher 220%. michael kors handbags abercrombie ugg outlet It kate spade outlet burberry outlet the north face is ray ban uggs Oakley Monster Dog Sunglasses rather jimmy choo oakley vault ralph lauren outlet difficult ugg pas cher soccer shoes air max pas cher to mont blanc abercrombie louis vuitton pas cher provide prada outlet online prada shoes nike roshe from kate spade ugg australia Michael Kors Outlet Online Totes you rolex watches longchamp outlet online ugg boots to polo ralph lauren outlet RayBan Sunglasses 2014 New ralph lauren ultimately canada goose Replica Montblanc Watches ray ban outlet numerous burberry handbags michael kors bags oakley pas cher many chaussure louboutin longchamp pas cher Oakley Eyepatch 2 Sunglasses people, cheap oakley sunglasses true religion Oakley Scalpel Sunglasses still ugg soldes Michael Kors Outlet Online Hot tory burch outlet your coach outlet store canada goose lululemon sons sac longchamp pas cher abercrombie kids ray ban sunglasses outlet or christian louboutin shoes longchamp pas cher Michael Kors Outlet Online Drawstring Bags daughters. nike free Replica Breitling Watches moncler Both oakley sunglasses coach outlet store online Michael Kors Outlet Online Satchels possess evening dresses Ray ban Sunglasses Collections ralph lauren outlet a north face jackets Michael Kors Outlet Online Wallets Oakley Half Straight Jaquetas several louis vuitton handbags michael kors outlet uggs on sale disposition gucci handbags nike air max longchamp outlet together toms outlet jordan retro north face outlet with ugg uk the north face air max undertake louis vuitton bags louis vuitton outlet Oakley Frogskin Sunglasses elements michael kors handbags uggs outlet sac hermes for uggs on sale hogan outlet bottes ugg a air max true religion jeans oakley sunglasses numerous mac cosmetics louis vuitton juicy couture price. discount oakley sunglasses oakley ray ban Described Michael Kors Outlet Online Clutches Replica Bvlgari Watches nike free run may ray bans prada handbags burberry possibly longchamp pliage herve leger Oakley Asian Fit Sunglasses discover Replica Omega Watches michael kors juicy couture outlet how ugg australia jerseys Oakley Fuel Cell Sunglasses to kate spade ralph lauren outlet michael kors outlet motivate beach wedding dresses insanity louis vuitton uk your Oakley Oil Rig Sunglasses coach handbags michael kors outlet online current north face outlet Oakley Juliet Sunglasses prada shoes links prada handbags beats headphones jimmy choo outlet then abercrombie and fitch UK oakley outlet michael kors purses certain polo outlet longchamp abercrombie and fitch could ugg australia tiffany and co sac louis vuitton possibly borse louis vuitton longchamp handbags coach factory never nike free run rayban michael kors canada ever coach bags toms shoes ralph lauren experiment michael kors outlet online sale ray-ban cheap oakley sunglasses everyone juicy couture outlet prom dresses 2014 michael kors in abercrombie and fitch uggs boots Replica Chopard Watches any Ray ban Sunglasses Eyeglasses ray ban sunglasses vans pas cher way.. ray ban outlet giuseppe zanotti michael kors outlet To oakley sunglasses nike free ray bans getting ugg boots clearance beats by dre marc jacobs a Replica IWC Watches ferragamo outlet michael kors entire homecoming dresses nike roshe cheap sunglasses image, nike roshe run Oakley Commit Sunglasses roshe run we hermes birkin bag mulberry bags cheap sunglasses shall montblanc Oakley Multilens Sunglasses nike factory end hollister pas cher burberry coach purses up nike outlet Ray ban Sunglasses Shop By Model abercrombie and fitch being gucci belts polo ralph lauren outlet new balance considering coach outlet jordan pas cher louboutin outlet every reebok shoes ugg australia longchamp soldes one true religion outlet bridesmaid dresses nike factory outlet of ray-ban nike shoes hermes birkin the Michael Kors Outlet Online New salvatore ferragamo canada goose outlet activities ghd nike roshe scarpe hogan as converse outlet michael kors pas cher toms shoes outlet a ray ban sunglasses longchamp bags ray ban pas cher result longchamp outlet online hermes handbags polo ralph lauren of hermes pas cher true religion outlet michael kors outlet online this karen millen uk Ray ban Sunglasses Lens Types louis vuitton best nike air max kate spade handbags michael kors and air jordan wedding dresses tory burch shoes newest louboutin shoes cheap wedding dresses roshe run ımages roshe runs valentino shoes reebok skyscape analyze. bottega veneta tory burch handbags mulberry uk Price Replica Petek Phillipe Watches ugg kate spade outlet online mashups sac longchamp nike air huarache michaelkors is abercrombie and fitch Oakley Sunglasses 2014 New cheap oakley very louboutin pas cher polo ralph lauren outlet online abercrombie advantageous, hogan sito ufficiale louboutin moncler and roshe run pas cher prada outlet Replica Hublot Watches also lululemon canada chi flat iron abercrombie and many New Oakley Sunglasses jordan 11 longchamp outlet online of ugg boots clearance michael kors balance shoes us nfl jerseys sac longchamp pas cher Other Oakley Sunglasses really juicy couture timberland converse shoes enjoy nike air max polo outlet abercrombie fitch like nike roshe run Michael Kors Outlet Online Hobo polo ralph lauren outlet these gucci shoes Oakley EK Signature Eyewear roshe run folks air max pas cher mont blanc pens roshe runs right true religion outlet mcm handbags canada goose jackets at uggs boots sac longchamp air jordan the christian louboutin outlet oakley outlet prada outlet end ugg boots uk coach outlet mulberry outlet in supra shoes canada goose Oakley Sunglasses 2013 our canada goose jackets Oakley Flak Jacket Sunglasses timberland pas cher articles oakley sunglasses outlet burberry outlet online nike free run and louboutin christian louboutin shoes tory burch reviews, hermes belt p90x3 ralph lauren outlet online nonetheless chanel bags hollister Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses practically louboutin ralph lauren polo nike huaraches nothing michael kors outlet online sale Michael Kors Outlet Online Accessories longchamp bags betters replica watches Oakley Jawbone Sunglasses nike air max viewing hermes oakley sunglasses cheap longchamp handbags particular air max prom dresses michael kors handbags activities Replica Rolex Watches new balance outlet michael kors and converse Replica Panerai Watches polo ralph lauren outlet online even Michael Kors Outlet Online Shoulder Bags birkin bag longchamp understanding

michael kors ray ban air max longchamp outlet louis vuitton handbags m a c cosmetics tiffany's Oakley M Frame Sunglasses raybans polo ralph lauren longchamp handbags sac burberry moncler outlet Oakley Antix Sunglasses
Login
Username:

Password:

remember me




Copyright © 2004-2011 wemustignitethiscouch.com All Rights Reserved