Let us not get carried away with one victory!


Dwayne Watts, aka The Sports Dude will now regularly be blogging for us. After the jump, he gives his take on the Backyard Brawl, and especially Head Coach Bill Stewart…

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 27: Head coach Bill Stewart of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates with his quarterback Pat White #5 after their 31-30 victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels at Bank of America Stadium on December 27, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Flashback: January 2, 2008. The underdog WVU Mountaineers had just overcome insurmountable odds to upset the then third ranked, and heavily favored, Oklahoma Sooners.  Less than a month earlier, the heavily favored and second ranked WVU Mountaineers had lost to Pittsburgh, a 4-touchdown underdog, before a sellout crowd at Mountaineer Field. In the early hours following the historical Mountaineer victory in the desert in Arizona, a little known, long-time assistant coach, Bill Stewart was hired as the new WVU head coach. Stewart was a dark horse candidate at best before the Oklahoma victory. Stewart was not even on the “short list” of potential candidates. Yet because of one improbable victory, Stewart was named the head coach without a single formal interview. One win was enough to convince then A.D. Ed Pastilong to hire Stewart. One victory. Forget the long list of doubts surrounding the “candidate”. One victory was enough. “He deserves the head-coaching job,” Pat White said after the Fiesta Bowl win. “All the players respect him, all the players love him. You couldn’t ask for a better guy to lead us today.” The last part of that statement is the most telling portion of the entire quote by Pat White.

Flash Forward: November 26, 2010. WVU handily defeated its bitter rival, Pitt.  To call today’s game anything but an “ass whooping” would be an understatement. Pitt contributed to their demise by costly turnovers, but WVU dominated the game where it counted, the final score. A West Virginia sportswriter asked after the game, “Did this victory save Bill Stewart’s job?” I would have to answer with a resounding NO! A victory over a rival is always important. It energizes the alumni base and it helps recruiting efforts. I stated earlier in the week the most important stat in the Bill Stewart Era as WVU Head Coach is Zero – zero Big East titles, zero Top 10 finishes and zero BCS Bowls played or won. A great victory over a 6-4, unranked Pitt team is not a “signature win”. Bill Stewart’s body of work at WVU indicates he should not be retained as the Head Coach. His teams, given the talent level, have underachieved. One victory does not make a career and should not be a deciding factor in head coaching personnel decisions.  Bill Stewart was the guy to lead the WVU Mountaineers today (as Pat White said of him in January 2008), but let us not repeat the personnel mistakes made in the early morning hours of the Arizona desert following another great WVU victory. If Bill Stewart does not win the Big East and win a BCS Bowl game, he should not be retained as the WVU Head Football Coach.

Dwayne Watts, aka The Sports Dude, can be followed on Twitter @ImTheSportsDude at https://twitter.com/#!/ImTheSportsDude .  His sports blog posts are also available at http://thesportsdude.tumblr.com/.

Tags: Backyard Brawl Big East Big East Conference Big East Football Bill Stewart Eat Shit Pitt Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma Pat White Pitt Recaps Rivalries The Sports Dude University Of Pittsburgh WVU WVU Football

  • wvuer21

    While I certainly agree on some points and disagree on others, I don’t think it will matter much to the AD. The way I see it, and the way things usually play out, I foresee the following scenarios:

    1. If UConn somehow wins out and gets poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered by Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl, Stew gets a one year extension.
    2. UConn loses one of it’s next two, and WVU goes to the Fiesta Bowl and gets poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered by Nebraska, he gets two or three years.
    3. UConn loses one of it’s next two, and WVU goes to the Fiesta and wins, Ol’ New Martinsville Tough Billy Stew gets four or five years.

    Of course, plenty depends on Stew’s willingness to cut bait with assistants, notably Dave Johnson and Dan Mullen. I could realistically see Stew and/or Luck dumping Johnson and retaining Mullen for a season to see what the offense could do with a reasonable o-line. I truly believe that some of the play calling this season has been predicated upon the knowledge that the line isn’t very good, and has handicapped things from the start. I’m willing to give Stew another year or two if he’s man enough to rid the staff of the likes of Johnson and/or Mullen if need be. If he can’t (or won’t) then yes, Stew’s got to go, if for no other reason to put someone in charge who will make a tough decision. In the meantime, though, let’s enjoy this win. Regardless of the season, beating Pitt is always cause for celebration.

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