Newport, R.I. — New West Virginia coach Bill Stewart won’t tell you he’s going to outscheme every other coach in the Big East.
The son of a pipe fitter from a small mining town, Stewart changed jobs six times in 12 years, even making two stops in the Canadian Football League, before becoming one of the best rags-to-riches stories in college football.
After West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez bolted his home state for Michigan last season, Stewart was named the Mountaineers’ interim coach for the Fiesta Bowl. With West Virginia still reeling from a 13-9 loss to Pittsburgh that cost the Mountaineers a chance to play in the BCS championship game, Stewart somehow rallied his team to a 48-28 rout of No. 3 Oklahoma. Stewart was named West Virginia’s coach the next morning.
“I’m just a jockey,” Stewart said. “I jumped on the back of the best team in the West. Our young men were very disappointed with the loss to Pittsburgh. They whooped us. Our guys were really frustrated, but I told them, ‘Guys, that’s in the past.’ It was an easy ride for me.”