To begin, Dana Holgorsen is not a good head coach. He’s not a leader of young men, he’s not the kind of person that you want representing your university, and he’s really nothing more than a glorified offensive coordinator. How he became a head coach anywhere is mystifying.
Back in 2010, then-Athletic Director Oliver Luck wanted to make a splashy hire following a somewhat disappointing season for the Mountaineers. Although they finished 9-4 and 5-2 in the Big East conference (losing the BCS bowl game tiebreaker to UCONN), the offense only averaged 377 yards per game under offensive coordinator Jeff Mullens. That same year, Dana Holgorsen’s offense at Oklahoma State led the nation in total yards per game.
Luck fired Mullens and brought in Holgorsen, which was a reasonable decision considering their failures and successes on the offensive side of the ball, but Holgorsen was also given the role of “coach-in-waiting”, which has always turned out to be an absolute disaster everywhere it was attempted.
We all know how this went. The relationship between Stewart and Holgorsen was strained from the beginning. Stewart, who went 28-11 as the head coach of the Mountaineers, felt that he deserved to remain as the coach. Holgorsen was one of the hottest coordinators in college football and wanted to be a head coach immediately.
There were rumors that Stewart asked reporters to dig up dirt on Holgorsen, although none of these claims were ever substantiated. Rather than figure out the truth, Luck fired Stewart for “conduct detrimental to the university.”
Bill Stewart was never going to be Oliver Luck’s guy. Ed Pastilong hired Stewart after the Mountaineers’ incredible 2008 Fiesta Bowl upset win over the Oklahoma Sooners. Luck’s handling of the Stewart firing was despicable. One of the truly great Mountaineers in West Virginia history, a man that would have died for the football program, was routinely dismissed and quickly forgotten about.
Although Holgorsen went on to have nominal success as the head coach of the Mountaineers, he never loved the Mountaineers that way that Bill Stewart did, and it was pretty much accepted that if a better opportunity came along, he would leave Morgantown as quickly as he could. As it turns out, he left for a worse opportunity.
Regardless of records, Stewart represented the university and the state of West Virginia in a way that no other coach could. Stewart was a proud Mountaineer and would never leave West Virginia under any circumstance. West Virginia was his dream job. And while he may not have been the sexy hire that Holgorsen was back in 2010, he was the best choice to continue to lead the Mountaineers for as long as he wanted to.
Bill Stewart was everything that Dana Holgorsen could never be; a leader of young men, a person that loved the university and the state of West Virginia more than anything in the world, and someone we could proud to call our Head Coach.
You left no doubt, Coach Stew.