The Big East media days are scheduled to begin August 1, but a Sporting News report suggests that West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart will not be attending this year. That is because West Virginia is in the process of negotiating a buyout of Stewart’s contract, a product of a bizarre string of damaging stories out of West Virginia regarding the relationship between he and his successor-in-waiting, assistant coach Dana Holgorsen.
Stewart’s lawyer, David Hendrickson, has gone on record stating that he knows nothing about a possible buyout. “There have been no negotiations,” Hendrickson said Thursday evening to The Charleston Gazette. “I haven’t heard from the athletic department today.”
West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck has declined to comment on the situation, other than to say “no one wants this to drag out any longer than it needs to.”
Holgorsen was escorted out of a West Virginia casino a couple weeks ago and was reported to have been intoxicated during the episode. Stories of previous situations similar to the casino incident were leaked through the media regarding Holgorsen’s past. The university took measures to reject the tainted past of Holgorsen and reports suggest that the source of those leaks stemmed from Stewart and his wife, Karen.
Holgorsen was added to the coaching staff in the off-season with the idea that he would be the head coach in waiting. This is supposed to be the final year on Stewart’s contract and Stewart hinted that he was not ready to step down as head coach. The tension in Morgantown was imminent.
Stewart’s image was further damaged when a former writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said the Mountaineers head coach asked him to dig up dirt on Holgorsen. The writer says Stewart asked him to find information on Holgorsen around the time West Virginia signed the Oklahoma State assistant coach.
According to Stewart’s current contract with West Virginia the university would owe him $1.125 million if he were terminated during the 2011 season, which at this point would likely include right now. Stewart was named the interim coach at West Virginia for the 2008 Fiesta Bowl following the departure of Rich Rodriguez to Michigan. After leading the school to a win over Oklahoma Stewart was signed to be the school’s head coach, but the Mountaineers have failed to return to the BCS under Stewart. West Virginia has lost their last two bowl games as well.
Reports suggest a decision on Stewart could be reached as early as Friday morning. icedjamb.com will monitor the situation and update this story as needed.
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