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Stewart happy to remain at WVU

by Greg Talkington

SPORTS WRITER

MORGANTOWN -- Over the course of his 27-year coaching career, Bill Stewart has become the proverbial jack-of-all-trades.

Holding a myriad of jobs at a plethora of places, Stewart came home to native West Virginia in 2000 when Don Nehlen named him quarterbacks coach.

But when Rich Rodriguez was named to replace the retiring Nehlen in late November, it appeared unlikely

Stewart would be retained. Rodriguez's offense, the no-huddle spread, would likely require a quarterbacks coach a little more familiar with it. That's where Stewart's versatility paid off.

When Rodriguez

introduced his new staff last Friday, Stewart was there, although the new coach still wasn't sure what position Stewart would hold, or if he'd even be on offense.

For Stewart, to be retained in any capacity made him one happy guy.

"I really consider it a compliment that he thinks enough of me to keep me even though he's not sure yet where," Stewart, a native of New Martinsville, said. "I guess taking some of those jobs that I wish I wouldn't have are now making me glad I did.

"I consider it a real blessing to be on this staff."

Stewart's experience is immense. He's been an offensive coordinator (Winnipeg, CFL), an offensive line coach (Montreal of the CFL, North Carolina, Arizona State, Navy and William & Mary), defensive line coach (Air Force and Salem College) and even a head coach (VMI, 1994-96).

"I guess it shows my age, but I have made myself more marketable by doing so many different things," the 48-year-old Stewart said. "Now, this is just like icing on the cake."

Stewart, who played college football at Fairmont State, believes the new coaching staff's goal should be to take WVU's program to the level Nehlen had it at during the 1980s and early 90s.

"We are not inheriting a down-and-out program," Stewart said. "This program has been to four bowls in the last five years.

"But I think you'll see a little more fire with Rich and the younger coaches, and you'll likely see a few more T's crossed and I's dotted."

"I'm excited about the possibilities."

Sports writer Greg Talkington can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at gtalkington@exponent-telegram.com.

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