At a press conference held early Thursday afternoon, athletic director Oliver Luck met with the media to further explain the direction the WVU football program has taken. As it pertained to Stewart, Luck started out by praising the coach…
“Let me thank Bill Stewart for what he is doing for West Virginia University, for the football program. He took over during a very challenging time back in 2007, and acted as the consummate professional, calmed the waters and has done a marvelous job leading our team. I think because of his professionalism, I have all the confidence in the world that our transition year will work very smoothly. I look forward to having two great coordinators, Coach Dana Holgorsen and Coach Jeff Casteel, led by a great West Virginian and a great person, Coach Bill Stewart. I’m very much excited about the 2011 season and beyond because I think we will have one exciting brand of football here at Mountaineer filed beginning in 2011.”
…before burying him underneath the axles of a Greyhound.
“I didn’t believe we had an opportunity to win a national championship with the direction of the program [under Stewart]. At the end of the day, results matter. And we weren’t getting the results. I want our Mountaineer program and expect us to compete at the highest levels.
“Our season ticket base has declined from Stewart’s first year to the present time. We’ve had only two crowds since 2004 under 50,000 and both of those took place in the last couple of years. That to me is an indication that our fans aren’t satisfied with the product, and that factors in as well.”
I absolutely respect Luck being forthright and brutally honest, and there is certainly more than a kernel or two of truth to the assessment, but there had to be a more tactful way to frame that part of the discussion. A West Virginia native, the folksy and likable Stewart has given his heart and soul to the football program over the past ten years; he certainly deserves better treatment as he’s being unceremoniously pushed out the door.