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SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
1/03/2008 04:50:00 PM

West Virginia Outdoes Itself; OSU-LSU Talk

Bill Stewart
Bill Stewart went 8-25 as the head coach at VMI from 1994-96.
AP

NEW ORLEANS -- I’ll get to Ohio State-LSU (the reason I’m here) in a second, but I have to take a moment to comment on West Virginia’s incredibly bizarre decision to promote interim coach Bill Stewart to head coach based solely on Wednesday night’s Fiesta Bowl rout of Oklahoma. It’s a fitting and, most likely, disastrous end to what had already been one of the most dim-witted coaching searches I’ve ever witnessed.

In the 17 days since Rich Rodriguez left for Michigan, the school’s “search committee” first settled on Florida assistant Doc Holliday, only to have state governor/de facto athletic director Joe Manchin nix it. Manchin then put in a call inquiring about childhood friend Nick Saban’s availability, then tried unsuccessfully to work out a deal to pry Jimbo Fisher away from Florida State. Then the school interviewed Central Michigan coach Butch Jones twice, left both him and Terry Bowden hanging in the wind, hired a search firm to help sort out the mess … then, somewhere around the fourth quarter Wednesday night, decided, “Heck … this guy right here seems pretty good.”

I must confess, I know very little about Stewart, who seems like a nice enough -- and certainly enthusiastic -- fellow. But the best coaching hires are made by professionals who remove emotion from the equation -- and the short-sighted decision to hand over a nationally prominent program to a guy who went 8-25 as the head coach at VMI just because he kicked Oklahoma’s butt is the definition of a decision based purely on emotion. (That, or the fact that they got him for the incredibly low, low price of $800,000 a year, cheap even by Conference USA standards.)

Maybe Stewart will turn out to be the next Bill Belichick, but I’d guess he has a much better chance of becoming the next Bill Doba. Promoting an interim coach based on short-term success (Bobby Williams at Michigan State), or promoting an assistant just because he’s popular with the current players (Larry Coker at Miami), doesn’t usually work out in the long run. With Pat White and Noel Devine, it would be hard for any coach to screw up next year’s team, but two to three years down the road, the school will likely rue its hasty decision.

Meanwhile, university president Mike Garrison couldn’t resist taking one last parting shot at Rodriguez, the guy most responsible for the Mountaineers reaching the Fiesta Bowl in the first place, in announcing Stewart’s hiring. “We know we now have a coach who truly values the opportunity to work as the head football coach at West Virginia University,” said Garrison.

I’m sure that will provide great comfort in 2009 when the Mountaineers are fighting for a spot in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

• National-championship week seems like it’s only really beginning here (I could count on one hand the number of Ohio State and LSU fans I saw on the desolate streets here while running errands early this afternoon), but at the Tigers’ first press conference here Thursday, defensive coordinator Bo Pelini referred to how the team’s preparations are already “starting to wind down.”

That’s because LSU is treating Monday’s game as if it were a Saturday, which means it held its regular “Monday” practice before leaving campus Wednesday and its “Tuesday” practice on Thursday. By “Wednesday” of a regular game week (tomorrow), the Tigers start “tapering” the amount of full-scale contact and game action and begin to “polish,” as Les Miles put it.

All-American defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey seemed pretty fired up when talking about the team’s practices so far. “Everybody’s flying around out there,” he said.

• Just how much film study goes into preparing for a bowl game? Pelini said Thursday that he’s watched tape not only of every Ohio State game this season but of every bowl the Buckeyes have played under Jim Tressel. “We’ve done our homework,” he said. You think?

• It’s always good to have Ohio State quote machine Kirk Barton around. At the Buckeyes’ press conference Thursday, the senior tackle said this week’s trip into the heart of LSU country “was kind of like Rocky IV, when he goes to Russia, gets off the plane and the KGB is with him.”

• During LSU’s holiday break, Dorsey served as grand marshal of a Christmas parade in his hometown of Gonzalez, La. “I got to ride around in a car, and they gave me the key to the city,” he recounted excitedly. Did he get to toss candy? “No,” said Dorsey. “No candy.” The image of a 6-foot-2, 303-pound man riding in a parade car is amusing enough -- if he’d been tossing candy, I’d upgrade it to flat-out outstanding.

• The format of these title-game press conferences is that each team brings its coordinator and five key players from one side of the ball one day, the other side the next. Ohio State’s offense was up Thursday, and in nine years of covering these things, this is the first time I can remember a team not including its quarterback (Todd Boeckman) among its five players.

Meanwhile, here are the five defensive players the Buckeyes are bringing tomorrow: cornerback Kurt Coleman, linebacker Marcus Freeman, cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, safety Anderson Russell and defensive lineman Doug Worthington. Notice anyone missing from there?

• Finally, I must say, it was kind of weird seeing the head coach of Nebraska (Pelini) wearing a purple-and-gold pullover. Can you imagine Tom Osborne wearing those colors? Just another awkward moment in the sport’s ever-clunky coaching carousel.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |

Comments:

Posted: 5:49 PM   by Blogger Blarc
Who was the fat guy in the cowboy hat that they kept showing on the OU sidelines. Hw looked lke "Boss-Hog"? what that a booster or and old player or what? Thanks
Posted: 5:56 PM   by Blogger Jin
Haha - his name is Jim Ross and he does color commentary for WWE (used to be WWF) - World Wrestling Entertainment. He's a huge Sooner fan, but I'm actually not sure if he ever played there or is just a big fan. I'm not even sure he went there. But yeah, way to go FOX on showing us someone who has nothing to do with football. Stick with the NFL.
stewart mandel, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, we finally have a coach who wants to be here, and every one of the players love him. i believe that they will play harder for him than they would have for Rodriguez. Lets Go 'Eers!!!!
This post has been removed by the author.
Posted: 6:10 PM   by Blogger smb513
hhhmmm...where are all the ou fans that swore up and down they were the best team in the country and should be playing for a national title?.....Sooners come out and play lol...GO BUCKS and CINCY!!!!
Posted: 6:15 PM   by Blogger Sam A.
Stewart, I have the same concerns you do. However, WVU certainly did not want to be burned by another prima donna coach who will be constantly bargaining for raises or looking elsewhere for another job. I hope as all WVU fans do that Coach Stew works out, but given what everyone just went through with Rod, this is an understandable decision.
Well, well, Stewart...so you looked into your crystal ball and saw the future of West Virginia football, eh?! If WVU had listened to you and the rest of the sports "experts" over the past couple of weeks, they would not have even showed up to get "blown out" by OU. I guess that crystal ball of yours has a few cracks in it. Turns out, OU was the team to get blown out. Even though you didn't give WVU a chance in the Fiesta Bowl, at least give the new coach a chance to succeed before throwing him under the bus. I know he's not as "elite" as Saint Rodriguez, but I think he knows what he's doing.
Posted: 6:22 PM   by Blogger BenBarish
I think Mandel's column is ridiculous and inacurate. I know that the WVU search did not go as Mandel describes, and so does Mandel. He just makes a ridiculous claim and then does not even attempt to attribute it to a source. What a joke of a journalist.....Mandel should get in touch with perennial WV hater Lee Corso (he predicted that WVU would lose to Oklahoma by 21 last night) so they can talk about the inept and befuddled West Virginians while Coach Stew takes this team to a BCS bowl again next year and the best fans in the country support the best football team in the country in Morgantown, WV....
Posted: 6:27 PM   by Blogger WVUMountee21
You are comparing this hiring decision to one other similar instance(Larry Coker). That is an intelligent comparison..haha. If I remember right Coker won a National Championship. Anyways, you, as well as, ESPN, SI, FOXSports, etc. never give WVU any credit and yet we still rise to the occasion. Say what you want but you better not under-estimate us.
Posted: 6:38 PM   by Blogger Hamlet
Not a WVU fan, but I think this is a bad hire based on emotion and not logic. Just because someone wants to be the coach and stay a while doesn't mean they will do a good job. Hope he does well (seems like a nice guy), but we will only know in 2-3 years in how this pans out.
Posted: 6:48 PM   by Blogger The Kiser's
hey mandel, why all the hating on Coach Stew. You bring up his previous stint as a coach at VMI. don't you think he could have become a better coach since that time. maybe he has learned a few things along the way (like leading a team that just lost its coach to a BCS win over the "Mighty" Sooners). Maybe he is a better coach now. has your writing gotten better over the years?? were you the writer back then that you are now. presumably you have gotten better, although I doubt that very much. you are supposed to be an expert, right? good job on your research and your prognostications into the future.
Posted: 6:55 PM   by Blogger COphidc
Yeah, everyone who predicted that WVU would get blown out by OU just got as embarrassed as everyone who predicted Pitt would get blown by WVU.
Posted: 6:58 PM   by Blogger pmc765
WVU will regret another emotional decision...to loudly and prematurely sue RR for the $4M buyout. When Stewart needs replacing, which may be soon, good luck getting anyone of stature to come. Would you marry a woman who murdered her last husband?
Posted: 7:00 PM   by Blogger sandytowne
Mandel is right on with the WVU comments. For all intents and purposes, Stewart was not even considered a possibility until they beat Oklahoma. Then he was handed the keys to the car. This guy is a no-name in recruiting circles, and doesnt have exactly a glittering track record as a head coach. Obviously next season WVU will be good (I expect that with the weak Big East they go undefeated or lose 1 game at most), but the year after that the bottom will begin to fall out. WVU fans need to separate the emotion from the coaching search as well. Just because a guy has ties to a program doesnt make him the best fit, nor should the loyalty argument come into play when selecting a coach.
Posted: 7:03 PM   by Blogger WV_BUCSGIG
You know, I don't remember everyone singing the praises of Butt Rod when he was first hired either. Give Coach Stew a chance. Genuine love for the state, respect for the game, respect for his players and opponents, its a breath of fresh air for College Football, in the days of the dollar and disloyalty.
Posted: 7:03 PM   by Blogger sandytowne
secondly WVU fans need to come off their high horse. Best fans and team in the country?? Please. You actually had to give back thousands of tickets to a BCS bowl game. Spare me the disappointment argument. great fans find a way. The Larry Coker comment was pretty accurate. Like Stewart, he inherited a loaded team from Butch Davis and won a national title with those guys. Then the bottom began to fall out when his own players came in culminating in some of the worst football played at the U in decades. Stewart isnt inheriting as much overall talent as Coker did, but that team next year will be great. After that I think you see WVU fall off to a large degree.
Posted: 7:07 PM   by Blogger Mr.
Mr. Mandel: An opinion without knowledge is ignorance. You state "I must confess, I know very little about Stewart," How then can you offer an intelligent opinion? You can't. You can say the hire was emotional and that WVU's search was not professional. However to state: "It’s ...most likely, disastrous. . ." when you admit you do not know the man's body of work makes me further question your knowledge of life let alone college football.

If Coach Stewart wins his first 23 games like Larry Coker, will that still make him a poor choice?

By the way, if I remember correctly, three years ago you said that the new Big East ranked with the Mountain West and WAC as a conference and you questioned its continued inclusion in the BCS. Since your comments, the Big East champion has beaten the SEC champions, the ACC champions, and now the Big 12 champions in three straight years.
Posted: 7:56 PM   by Blogger docula
I'm a WVU alumnus and a huge WVU football fan. Unfortunately, I agree with Mandel. Stewart was the right man at the right time to pull the team together for the Fiesta Bowl. Sure the current players like him. He's what they are familiar with. But can he recruit? Is he innovative? Can he handle the load of head coach day in and day out year after year? He's unproven in these areas. Hasty decisions made during emotional times are rarely good ones.
Posted: 8:01 PM   by Blogger larrywp
Stewart, I enjoy your commentary very much, most of the time. It is usually insightful and humerous, and occasionally inspired. But commenting that the new WV coach "may be the next Bill Belichick" was incredibly rude and not very well thought out.

I know you were being facetious, but Bill Belichick is a cheater, and a remorseless one at that. And please pass that on to your cohorts at SI, where pro football writers are more interested in their relationships with coaches than they are in providing the unvarnished truth to readers. Especially ol' Z, who thinks cheaters belong in the Hall of Fame.
Posted: 8:16 PM   by Blogger Stewart Mandel
Someone pointed out that I only used one (actually two) examples of short-sighted coaching promotions. Fair enough -- here are some others.

Steve Fisher, Michigan basketball.

Mike Davis, Indiana basketball.

Keith Gilbertson, Washington football.

Frank Martin, current K-State basketball.

The first three, like Williams and Coker, started strong before going down in flames. Martin, who was promoted solely to appease the current players, has shown to be way in over his head.

Obviously, I could wind up wrong, but the WVU situation reminds me very much of those -- only even more extreme.
Posted: 8:24 PM   by Blogger Machavelli
If hiring Stewart is what it takes in order to keep chemistry and the program rolling full steam for one more year, then i say do it. With White, Slaton and Reynaud as seniors, and an experienced Devine, this may be WVUs best and last shot at a national title. A crop of talent like this comes along few and far between. If this calculated risk pays off with a Nat'l Title for WVU, then that will make up for what recruiting capital Stewart is percieved to lack.
Posted: 8:25 PM   by Blogger Erin
The bottom line is and always will be... people hate West Virginia. We could've hired God himself and there would have been people out there like Mandel... "Well, after a couple years...". WVU could beat all the great teams in college football game after game and there would still be those that talk crap. Love it.
Posted: 8:32 PM   by Blogger Erin
To all those comparing Coach Stewart to other coaches who have failed... Coach Stewart was compared to all the other interim coaches who lost their bowl games. Only one interim coach one their bowl game. Coach Stewart. If we hired Terry Bowden, we would have been criticized. Butch Jones? Ridiculed. Reality is, WVU would have been criticized no matter who they hired. WVU will be ridiculed no matter what level of success is achieved. For all the hating we sure get a lot of attention.
Posted: 8:37 PM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
I feel that Stewart Mandel is astute in objectively bringing up the questionable character of emotional hires. Smart and successful business people hire the best candidate, not their best buddy. I've had close contact with WVU and can say that 90% of their graduates with an above average iq do not want their kids to go to WVU. Why? The place is badly run by one administrative nutjob after another. This is no secret in the national academic commiunity. Best of luck to Mr. Stewart. I think he'll bring an interesting personality to college football, but if he succeeds, it won't be because some genius hired him, it will be because some dude with stars in his eyes got lucky.
Posted: 9:07 PM   by Blogger getz011
Stewart,

An addition to your list of hasty assistant coach promotions that paid off big for a couple years before flameout: Randy Ayers to replace Gary Williams at OSU, circa 1991(?) The Buckeyes had a first-rate squad featuring Jim Jackson, and the players pushed hard to have Ayers promoted to Head Coach. They (and we) were promptly rewarded with a trip to the Elite Eight under Ayers. Soon after, the bottom fell out: Greg "Killer" Macon, suspensions, NCAA nastiness, and an ignominous exit.

I'll beat you to the punchline: vowing not to repeat the mistake, OSU subsequently conducted a painstaking search to find a better qualified candidate. The choice... Jim O'Brien.
Posted: 9:10 PM   by Blogger GunnarHH
Machivelli:
You are the only one here who made a convincing argument FOR the hiring of Bill Stewart. All the other WV people here keep talking about how everyone hates WV, they dont get any respect, Bill Stewart will be loyal and will stay for awhile, blah, blah,...your post was
a realistic, fairly intelligent way of looking at it, and even though I still dont agree with the hire, I can totally see where you would want to ride this talent train they have while they still can. BTW, to all you WV fans talking about his loyalty and how the players will play hard for him...that still doesn't mean he's a good coach, in crunch time, in major college football on a national stage. Players can play hard all day long, but if the playcalling is sub-standard, or the players dont execute properly, or if bad decisions are made during the course of a tight game, none of that matters.
Posted: 9:21 PM   by Blogger Erin
Gunnar,

Coach Stewart has coached 1 game at WVU and beat Oklahoma handily. Do you have some crystal ball that you can see his failure through? Did you come here to prove me right? You congratulate machivelli like his post was good enough for YOU. No one cares.

To please you my good buddy gunnar, Stewart is a great choice for at least the time being because he motivates this team to play to the best of their abilities (see the Fiesta Bowl.) Save your condescending and broad comments for someone else.
Posted: 9:28 PM   by Blogger Erin
Gunnar says "All the other WV people here keep talking about how everyone hates WV, they dont get any respect, Bill Stewart will be loyal and will stay for awhile, blah, blah,"

What do you think the article was about genius?? It was a short and sweet article about how West Virginia will fail. Tell me you read the article before you came here to post your words of absolute wisdom.

If the article was about theme parks, would you criticize people for talking about rollercoasters?
Posted: 9:30 PM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
Was it Stewart that motivated the players to beat OU, or was it Rodriguez leaving that motivated them? I think that's a legit question. Some might argue that Don Knotts could have led those guys to a win over the New England Patriots after "Rich Rod" jilted them.

P.S. No one hates you. I've noticed that in college football, hate is reserved for the best teams.
Posted: 9:31 PM   by Blogger Erin
Besides, I think articles like this and posts like those from Gunnar motivate teams like WVU. 90% of the country including Gunnar thought wvu would lose. By golly, 90% of the country was wrong. Thank you to Gunnar and others for encouraging us to do so well. You are our honorary head coach!
Posted: 9:31 PM   by Blogger Sid
Like many other Ohioans, it's hard for Mandel to break the habit of putting down the neighbors in West Virginia. Maybe he'll realize it's the 20th century now and wake up to be a balanced and fair sports writer. I'm sure it even pained him to describe WVU as 'a nationally prominent program'. I think it's high time WVU gets the respect and recognition it deserves.

As for the hire, I agree that these decisions need to carefully weighed out and should be absent of emotion. Generally speaking, the system WVU uses right now would be hard to sustain with an outsider. Even other disciples of the Spread Offense run it differently. Defense and Special Teams are unique at WVU as well. To bring in any outside coach right now is to rebuild at some level. This selection will keep some continuity and I hope the best for next season. Beyond this coming year, WVU will likely need a real thought leader to work magic in West Virginia again. They need a strong leader that can help recruit as well. There is no evidence that Stewart brings this longterm talent to the table. At this point I'm hoping that we'll be looking back at this hiring decision as brilliant 3 years from now but right now I'm only cautiously optimistic at best.
Posted: 9:32 PM   by Blogger flaMtneer
Ok Stew - You're the WVU AD, How do YOU handle this? I'm not defending the administration I could fill volumes about their bungling...but seriously give us the benefit of your keen intellect and name the best coach. Bill Stewart has received strong endorsements from both Jim Grobe and Mike Tomlin - 2 guys who know a little about football. His team just schooled OK in every aspect of a BCS bowl. He did something that RR could only manage for part of one game (Sugar Bowl) - get the team to play well in a big game! The AD could not bring in a new "assistant" to be the head coach - how do they justify that? So they'd be stuck raiding another team...who? Alabama? You guys would have a field day with that - if your heads didn't simply explode first. Wake? Grobe already endorsed Stewart... Boise? Not interested in coming east...It's easy to offer up criticism - let's see you offer up a solution. The biggest mistake the WVU AD made was to not delay this announcement a couple days. If they had, you experts would have been stuck commenting only about the Mountaineers thrashing of the almighty Sooners and THAT would have would REALLY have made your heads explode!!
Posted: 9:32 PM   by Blogger Erin
eric y town "P.S. No one hates you. I've noticed that in college football, hate is reserved for the best teams."

And for expert analysis on the opinions of America lets turn to our veteran opinion analyst eric... eric your thoughts?

Please.... nice job sliding in the West Virginia slam. Did you watch the game last night?
Posted: 9:36 PM   by Blogger donald
Stewart,
Bill Stewart didnt wake up at the Holiday Inn Express the day of the Fiesta Bowl and decide to be a coach. Bill Stewart is 55 yrs old and I believe has been earning this his whole life. You see the problem is it shakes the world system of innovative coaches who character wise are not ready to lead young men as head coaches, but get promoted pre-mature. Young coaches who can x & O with the best of them, becomes all about them, which in effect drives young men to feed the ego they so desperately desire. Fact, the best head coach dosnt have to be the best at x's & o's but at leading young men and in the ideal world young innovative coaches into real men and leaders with character.
Posted: 9:36 PM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
Sorry Erin, but the best teams don't lose to Pitt and South Florida in the same year. I have no problem with WVU's football team. They seem like good people, but the truth is the truth. You guys haven't achieved enough to have a persecution complex.
Posted: 9:44 PM   by Blogger crystal baller
Everyone can argue to kingdom come. However, as a WVU alum who attended school during both the Nehlen and Rodriguez days I think a few comments are worth making. To say WVU football is now at new levels is not entirely accurate. Nehlen led the Mountaineers to two undefeated regular seasons and one failed national championship game. This was when we played Miami and Virginia Tech and Boston College still. Second, Nehlen is one of the top 20 winningest coaches ever I believe. Finally, his defenses were way meaner and more physical than Rodriguez' silly 3-3-5 stack that only finally looked good this year. Nehlen's problem was the same as Bobby Stoops: bowl losses. But does anyone question Stoops' legacy? Of course not. In 6-7 years of coaching Rod merely served to change the style of WVU football. Along the way he built a good team that has come together in the past 3 years. Before that, his first 4 years were definitely not any better that Nehlen's normal years. Remember, Stewart worked for both Nehlen and Rodriguez. If he is smart enough to take the best from both coaches, he could be a wonderful coach. The recruiting concerns are valid. But, that will be shown in due time. Everyone can argue, but as last nights game showed, and this entire season, nobody can predict the future in college football. Good luck to a seemingly very nice guy.
Posted: 9:47 PM   by Blogger Erin
Oh Eric, if you want to be logical then don't use flawed logic. Who did Oklahoma lose to this year? Who did LSU lose to this year? Who did Ohio State lose to this year? Who did Florida lose to this year? Who did USC lose to this year? Who did Georgia, and Boston College lose to? Unranked teams.

Losing two games in any season do not define a football program. If they do, then all of college football is a joke.

USC got beat by Stanford. Michigan got beat by Appy State. Don't even try to tell me they are not great teams.

Nice try buddy. But I'm not impressed.
Posted: 9:58 PM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
Erin,
I'm not going to get into this with you. It's not worth it. I have a great amount of respect for WVU as the greatest drinking school in the modern world. I bow to your excellence.
Posted: 10:00 PM   by Blogger crystal baller
a few more thoughts...

Rodriguez wouldn't have been able to win a national championship with WVU because he was like a rat hooked up to electroshock therapy for positive reinforcement when it came to throwing sideways and running horizontally. He was getting worse and worse at not throwing the ball down the field as the seasons past. Only 2 times last night did I see WVU throw horizontally. In addition, I argue Slaton's numbers were down largely in part to the fact that Rod kept making him run horizontally and hoping he could turn the corner rather than doing pitchbacks like to Devine in last nights game. It's easier on a pitchback because your shoulders are already north-south. If Coach Stewart is willing to throw down the middle then I will gladly endorse him as the new coach. We won last night b/c Coach Stu prevented OU from putting 7-8 in the box which is how Pitt and USF beat WVU.

Finally, this Kendrick donor guy from the Arizona Diamondbacks really needs to shut up. From his comments, he clearly is not interested in putting the school first, but rather his own ambitions. I am glad WVU is making a stand to donors who want to run the university. Schools are for academics (even if football brings in the money).
Posted: 10:38 PM   by Blogger GunnarHH
Erin:
The bottom line is WV hired a coach who was mediocre at best in the only other head coaching position he has ever held. Stew didn't say they would fail, he suggested the odds are better for failure than for success when you hire an unknown commodity, which WV did. The problem isn't next year, because I or anyone else could win games with White and Slaton. The problem is after they are gone, and you try to convince other, elite players to come to your school. If you don't understand how important recruiting is, then you don't understand college football.Try telling a kid to choose Bill Stewart over Urban Meyer, or Pete Carrol, or even Rich Rodriguez (BTW, thanks for the coach), it aint gonna happen. Stewart didn't suggest he probably wouldn't be very good as coach because he dislikes WV, or because he is a "hater", he did it because of the history behind other schools who have made similiar hires, for similiar reasons. It rarely works out, and he even listed several examples. So instead of being all angry and defensive, try looking at the situation realistically and understand the odds of success with this hire are slim.No one, Stewart included, said he couldn't do well, just that he probably wont. I also question whether YOU actually read the article, or did you just read the parts that were critical of WV? People dont hate your school, they just hate the everyone is against us, we get no respect, they're out to get us, whining mentality we've all had to listen to from you crying WV fans since your former coach decided he didn't like being at a school that nickles and dimes everything they do. See ya in the Poinsettia Bowl in 2 years.
Posted: 10:41 PM   by Blogger GunnarHH
By the way, I won $40 on WV's win, don't ever try to presume you know who I or anyone else you dont know is rooting for, you pompous A**
Posted: 11:02 PM   by Blogger Erin
This post has been removed by the author.
Posted: 11:03 PM   by Blogger Erin
lol.. I'm pompous. That's awesome. I'm also omnipotent, so beware.

You are the master of the double standard. You get mad because I presume to know what you know, then you claim "People dont hate your school, they just hate the everyone is against us, we get no respect, they're out to get us, whining mentality we've all had to listen to from you crying WV fans since your former coach decided he didn't like being at a school that nickles and dimes everything they do."

What do you think prompts all the tears? We have to defend ourselves from people like you. Don't bash us, then get mad when we put up a fight.

Man, hypocrisy.. you embrace it. And don't act like you know WVU. Your chosen side of the story is just that, one side of the story. Don't write back if you can't make cents (get it!) Go to bed Gunnar. Go to bed.
Posted: 11:06 PM   by Blogger Brandon
Perhaps you never should have been promoted from "interim crappy journalist" to "crappy journalist".
Posted: 11:06 PM   by Blogger Atocep
Stewart, where did you get your info?

Manchin is not the one that shot down the Doc hiring and Coach Stewart wasn't decided on last night during the game. Word had leaked over a week ago that they had locked in on a "suprise candidate" and some sort of announcement would be made after the bowl game. Everyone figured that meant they were trying to bring Saban, but its not true.

You bring up his 8-25 record at VMI, but don't mention that he set school records for offense while there and his winning percentage is third best at the school in more than 30 years. This is a school that has won a total of 23 games since he left in '96.

Your last comment about the Meineke Care Car bowl was low and unprofessional. I was a fan, but now I see why the accuracy of your info is always in question and there's more than handful of bloggers out there pointing it out on a regular basis.
Posted: 11:09 PM   by Blogger Erin
Eric,

So instead of admitting I'm right, and acknowledging that I totally destroyed your argument, you bow down to west virginia's drinking prowess?

Wow.
Posted: 11:37 PM   by Blogger GunnarHH
Erin:
You are very adept at twisting words to suit your argument, and planting insinuations about other people's opinions. That still doesn't make you right. The people I refer to who are tired of your whining, are the people I actually interact with, and speak to, face to face. Unlike you, who suggest "90% of people rooted against WV" that day. I suppose it's possible you really do know 90% of the people, and spoke to them personally to find out they rooted against your school, but I highly doubt it. And let me clear something up for you; I know WV as well as you do having parents born and raised there and spending much of my life there as well. So don't act like you know something I dont, and don't think for a second you can twist words around to suit your argument, because you aren't the only one who has 'lernt sum big werds. You and your arguments are an absolute joke, and after your last couple posts, I now see I should have added arrogant to my description of you.I think YOU should go to bed, because you are obviously becoming delirious. Just go to bed and dream about all those 5-7 seasons your about to endure, because your favorite team just hired a high school coach, at best.
Posted: 11:47 PM   by Blogger The Phork
Quote:
You bring up his 8-25 record at VMI, but don't mention that he set school records for offense while there and his winning percentage is third best at the school in more than 30 years. This is a school that has won a total of 23 games since he left in '96.
/Quote:

Err.. You are excited at the prospect that this guy had the "third best" winning percentage at VMI with a .320 average? Um. I might be missing the boat here but while the hire is certainly interesting, it appears to be far from a thought out process.

I am utterly speechless at the hate that Rod is being blasted with, when slime bags like Petrino and Saban pretty much get a free pass (no pun intended.)
Personally I think Rod saw this as his chance to move into the big leagues, and lets face it, a job like Michigan doesn't come up all that often. Theres a good reason for that. I don't want to hate on WVU, but WVU is certainly not Michigan, and I think Rod figured he got as far as he possibly could at WVU.
Even though I disagree with Mandel on a lot things, I have to agree with him here. Stew might be a nice guy, he might have all the players on his side, hell he might be the greatest coach in WVU history. But the simple fact remains that in 2-4 years we'll see what really happens.
Posted: 11:48 PM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
Erin-
I just can't get totally mad at WVU people. How can anyone dislike a town or university that has a street called Don Knotts Blvd? I don't even remember what we were arguing about. Oh yeah yeah okay, you guys are awesome or something like that. Sure, I'll buy that. Go 'eers.
Posted: 12:02 AM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
I think that you guys who are giving Stewart Mandel a hard time are misguided. The WVU persecution complex makes you think that he's persecuting you, when the truth is that Mandel has always been an avid cheerleader for WVU and the Big East. He loves Slaton and White. More than anything, I think he's expressing disappointment at the possibility that an up and coming program may have blown it just as they were about to start getting some real respect. We shall see. But in the meantime, maybe you folks should lighten up and enjoy your win.
Posted: 12:16 AM   by Blogger Atocep
Personally, I'm not mad. I just see that as a poorly researched column. The stuff about Manchin shooting down Doc, Coach Stewart only being hired because of last night, and simply siting his VMI record is the stuff ESPN guys like Skip Bayless have been spouting off all day and its either inaccurate or half-truths.

Coach Stewart has been WVU's prime recruiter for the Md, DC, and VA areas, had the best offenses in VMI history, and is the only guy that could keep the current staff and recruiting class together for the most part.

I have no problem with critiquing the hire or being disappointed in it, but at least present an informed, researched opinion. Acting like he was hired out of emotion and without thought is misguided and dead wrong in this instance.
Posted: 12:22 AM   by Blogger Erin
"make no mistake kansas, this does not make you legit. your team has to win that many game year in and year out. i don't see that happening"

That comment is from a poster at the ESPN forum for the Kansas vs. Vtech game. See, look at the type of venom that is unleashed to teams like Kansas and WVU.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. If you lose, you suck. If you win, you don't deserve it, you don't compare to the big teams, you'll never succeed, "see you in the poinsettia bowl,".. you catch my drift... clones..
Posted: 12:45 AM   by Blogger Eric Y-town
But it's true Erin, college football is an ultra-competitive, cut-throat world. You need to do it year in and year out to get real respect. That's what makes a great program. Consistency. Nonetheless, congrats to KU on an okay year.
Posted: 1:08 AM   by Blogger Douglas A.
Stewart - you're brilliant and hilarious.. as usual... Happy New Year!
Posted: 1:10 AM   by Blogger The Phork
I would hardly call KU's year just "okay". 6-6 last year to 12-1 and beating the #5 team in the country is a great year for any school. Lets see if they can hold on to that for the years to come however.
As for me, I'll put Kansas in my Tier2 of Div.1a teams, up from Tier3, but not quite at Tier1 status.
Posted: 1:26 AM   by Blogger RG
Stewart - I can't tell you how overwhelmed I am at your bowl picks. Out of 8 games so far you've been wrong 5 times and the other 3 were even more lopsided then you made them out to be.

I treat your articles pretty much like movie reviews. If they don't like it there is a better than even chance I will. Simply based on your prediction my guess is that Bill Stewart is going to do just fine next year.

Let's face it, your track record this year has been a lot worse than the coaches you've been criticizing.

The great thing about be a sports writer or any kind of critic is that you can be wrong most of the time and nobody really seems to care...
Posted: 1:45 AM   by Blogger DD
To start, I am a proud WVU grad. As I was leaving the game last night a buddy sent a text reading "Huge win! Can you say Coach Stewart!" My reply: "Sure can..as associate head coach".

I think Coach Stewart is great. I just thought there were better candidates and Coach Stew could have still been a large part of the team. The hire certainly does reek of an emotionally charged decision. I hope that it only appears that way and he was the leading candidate in their minds for a while now.

That being said, Coach Stewart now leads the football program I love. I hope he bucks the trend of the interim to head coach thing. I think he can. I am not as worried about recruiting as I am about the X & Os. Hopefully he will prove to be a diamond in the rough and be successful with the program until he decides to retire.

I also believe no matter who we hired the 2009 season wasn't going to be as good as 2008. Can't lose Pat White and hope for better. How far the fall and where the program goes after that is the big question. (quick question: does the statement "see ya at the poinsettia bowl" mean we're going to be playing you? For mighty Mich that certainly wouldn't be good)

Lastly, Mr. Mandel, I certainly see your point. And I understand this is a blog designed to entertain (it's certainly the most memorable article on the subject I read today). But it does seem damn vicious. Especially for a decision with an undetermined outcome.
Posted: 2:22 AM   by Blogger bgault
As a Buckeye fan, I'll be the first to admit that NO coaching search can guarantee results...be it one made through due diligence, or in a hasty, emotional time. (See Randy Ayers, Jim O'Brien, or John Cooper as proof)

For every example that Stewert can find, I'm sure we can find examples of coaches who went through the "process" - only to end up an abysmal failure. (*cough* - Bill Callahan - *cough*)

Only time will tell if WVU remains prominent, or becomes second tier again (the way they did after Major Harris' team failed in the NC game), but a marquee coach certainly would HELP things along.

Kids today seem to care less about the school jersey than they do about face time on ESPN, or where they might be ranked in the NFL draft, or if they can get paid to play the game. A coach who is a saleman is invaluable to an institution in an environment like that...and WVU does NOT have the long standing tradition (or a recent history of NFL draft success) that a head coach could plop down in front of a recruit to explain why WVU would be the best fit for them. Remember that WVU was the ONLY school to let Pat White play QB...so there weren't a lot of big schools to compete with for his services at that position.

Heck, even a school like Florida has the verdict still out on it. Urban Meyer inherits Ron Zook's players, wins the NC with them in his second year...and follows that success with a four loss season, including an abysmal showing against an unranked Michigan team.

So, I think Stewert's point is well taken that if you're going to gamble and put all your proverbial chips in the middle...I'd rather do it on pocket aces and a marquee coach than pocket deuces and the promoted assistant. Just my thoughts.
Posted: 2:38 AM   by Blogger dhines1671
Stew,
always love the blogs and the mail bag and power rankings, but you spelled my hometown wrong! it's Gonzales with an s not a z!
Posted: 2:38 AM   by Blogger dhines1671
Stew,
always love the blogs and the mail bag and power rankings, but you spelled my hometown wrong! it's Gonzales with an s not a z!
Posted: 2:38 AM   by Blogger dhines1671
Stew,
always love the blogs and the mail bag and power rankings, but you spelled my hometown wrong! it's Gonzales with an s not a z!
Posted: 3:15 AM   by Blogger SolidStateMind
You know, this really does remind me of the Keith Gilbertson hire at UW: Assistant Coach, beloved by the players, little previous head coach experience, and that was unsuccessful... but that said, I would wait until the guy builds the staff around him before I even started to be optimistic or worried.
You see, that's what would concern me if I was an 'Eer fan: it wasn't just Coach Stewart coaching that game last night, and from what I've read almost if not all of the staff is following Rodriguez to Michigan!
But who knows? Next year should be a good one for WVU, and by that time, we'll see who Coach Stewart surrounds himself with, and how they do recruiting.
Personally, I think that's the big thing-- recruiting. WVU doesn't have the cache of schools like in the Big-10 or the SEC (thinking regionally); heck, White and Slayton were surprise finds that weren't heavily recruited. Maybe RR (or a big-name coach replacing him) could've capitalized on the recent success, but I just don't think Coach Stewart will, which means WVU is going to erode as time goes by...
Posted: 3:47 AM   by Blogger Rich
dear god, college football fans are whiney. wvu fans get over it, rich rodriguez left for a better job, which i hope you yourselves would do if you were offered a promotion. and goodness, your new hire is silly, plain and simple. people don't hate on west virginia, hell most people don't think about you, except about this incredible silliness.
Posted: 7:50 AM   by Blogger nmmiller
Stewart, No one wins at VMI. I have a friend going to school there and the football team is a joke. Because they have to adhear to military requirements for players. No 6-5 300lb player would even be accepted at VMI. Bill Stewart's record at VMI is typical at that school.
Posted: 7:55 AM   by Blogger wvufan01976
Sorry Stewart.. but the guy most responsible for getting WVU to a BCS game has got to be Pat White or one of the other players, not Rich Rod. Rich Rod has the distinction of being the man who got WVU OUT of the NC game by his horrendous playcalling in the Pitt game.
Posted: 8:37 AM   by Blogger 6Speed
"The problem isn't next year, because I or anyone else could win games with White and Slaton." -- gunnarHH

Interesting you say that, because if you look at WVU's record, it was average before these two became starters. RRod was fumbling before injuries forced these two into the starting role. So, if anyone can win with White and Slaton, what does that say about the coach you just hired at UM?

Has anyone asked the question of who actually recruited Slaton and White? You'd better believe Stewart was involved with each.

"I am utterly speechless at the hate that Rod is being blasted with, when slime bags like Petrino and Saban pretty much get a free pass" -- The Phork

Petrino and Saban were both heavily rediculed for how they handled their moves. Where have you been?

Sure Rod left because he felt UM was a better opportunity for him, any reasonable person can understand that -- even if it is just money fueling the desire. The issue WVU fans have with him is with the way he left. Calling recruits on behalf of his new employer minutes before having a graduate assistant submit his resignation, then leaving out the side door just weeks before a BCS bowl game. If he should do the same to UM, tell us how UM fans will feel.
Posted: 9:22 AM   by Blogger Jonathan
Mandel,

Your a complete idiot. I cant believe SI hires you to write these idiotic columns. First, your prediction that WVU would get blown out by Oklahoma was wrong. Now your telling everyone that the decision to hire Bill Stewart was a bad choice. I hope everyone out there realizes the stupid thoughts and ideas of Stewart Mandel, enough to have a good laugh whenever someone reads his column. I for one, only read these stupid articles to get a laugh out of it so early in the morning. Society likes to laugh at idiots.

You dont live in WV and I know for a fact that you dont have any friends in WV. Pick-up a phone book, dial 1-304-dial-a-friend and maybe someone can help you understand what Mountaineer Football is all about. Loyalty, Respect, Heart and a Hard Work Ethic. That was proved during the 2008 Fiesta Bowl. WVU fans want a coach who wants to be here, not someone who flip flops and tries to extort money from WVU like Rodriguez did when Alabama came after him. As are most all Mountaineer fans, I for one am glad that we have Bill Stewart as the coach of our team.

CHUMP
Posted: 9:34 AM   by Blogger WVUJulie
I don't think we should get too hung up on the recruiting angle. We have a QB that no one else thought could play the position effectively, a starting RB who's football scholarship was taken away by another school, and a unbelievable fullback who was a walk-on from division III.

WVU is a great team made of misfits, and that is more impressive to me than getting any top recruits who rarely pan out and bring with them prima donna attitudes that impact everyone around them.

Maybe Coach Stewart won't lead us to championships, maybe he will. But at least he'll admit if he can't and step down, and in the mean time bring some must needed character back into college football.
Posted: 9:53 AM   by Blogger 6Speed
"Maybe Coach Stewart won't lead us to championships, maybe he will. But at least he'll admit if he can't and step down, and in the mean time bring some must needed character back into college football." -- wvujulie

Very interesting point. Perhaps Bill Stewart is exactly what college football needs.

Seems Wednesday night and Thursday morning, a lot of people were enjoying the purity of college football that was displayed on the WVU sidelines.

I have never wanted a coach to succeed as much I will be pulling for Bill Stewart and WVU in the coming seasons.
Posted: 9:53 AM   by Blogger Rizwan
Jonathan,

Your point is well taken but loyalty, respect, heart and a hard work ethic alone don't make a good football coach. If it were, I can be a darn good football coach. Would you consider me for the job? I think Mr. Mandel does have a valid point here.
Posted: 10:01 AM   by Blogger Micheal
It's funny how all of these WVU forget the biggest choke we've seen in College Football in recent memory. Hey guys, remember when you lost to Pitt and were a LOCK to go tot he NC game. Now, you're crucifying Rodriguez for leaving for UM, a better school, more resources, and more money. Are you kidding me? Guess WV really doesn't have any class like we thought especially that joke of a governor. Good reporting Stewart and Go Gators!
Posted: 10:04 AM   by Blogger Micheal
Funny how all these WVU fans forget the biggest choke in recent college football history. Hey, uh, remember Pitt when you were a LOCK to go the NC game. Unbelievably! Now your crucifying Rodrigues for leaving. All he did was build your pathetic school into a perrenial power in 7 years and take you to 3 BCS bowls. All this whole thing shows is that WV lacks class and common sense, what a suprise. And the worst is that joke of a governor. Great reporting Stewart, love your work and Go Gators!
Posted: 10:08 AM   by Blogger 6Speed
"It's funny how all of these WVU forget the biggest choke we've seen in College Football in recent memory. Hey guys, remember when you lost to Pitt and were a LOCK to go tot he NC game. Now, you're crucifying Rodriguez for leaving for UM, a better school, more resources, and more money. Are you kidding me?" -- michael

That is an interesting point. Yet somehow, the director of that colossal choke against an inferior Pitt team is being hailed as a great hire for UM, while the HC of the huge win over a solid OU team is considered a poor hire for WVU. Can you explain that to me?

I would think that if Stewart can put together a solid support staff, he will have a solid shot at success as WVU head coach.
Posted: 10:17 AM   by Blogger horriblemonkey
You've outdone yourself Mr. WVU will get blown out.


1. No one wins at VMI and he did as well or better than anybody.

2. Its RichRods crap calling that got WVU beat at USF and Pitt and the difference in playcalling the other night was obvious. So was the effect.

3. He was been with WVU for years. He will never sell out and the players right now love him.

4. There was no other obvious choice. Any candidate would come with questions. If we consider the Fiesta Bowl Stewart's interview for the head job, he hit it out of the park.

After all the BS of the head coach search, the money, the egos, and the idol worship in college football that goes with it, he is a breath of fresh air. He deserves the job plain and simple. Anyone that says he's a bad hire because he might not win has no idea what they are talking about. We don't know if anyone will win, EVER!! Take the pundits on the Fiesta Bowl... WVU will get blown out? Thanks for the guesswork.

I say go Mountaineers and best of luck to Coach Stew!!!!!!!!!
Mr. Mandel,

I look forward to anything that you write on SI.com. However, this blog post was a bit harsh. Usually, I find that you try very hard to be even handed. This post was overly negative considering the circumstances.

WVU has gone through a lot; the hiring process was incredibly devisive. Stewart may not have been the best coach they could get, but he was the best choice for the situation at hand. As another comment stated, I would be more than happy if he was a mirror of Larry Coker. WVU is never going to be a perennial power, even if Rich Rod stayed. But next year is their opportunity to win a national championship, and Stewart gives them the best chance of doing that next year. Perhaps you could take that into account.

Love your stuff, and I know I have emotional ties to WV (having grown up there but attended Marshall and the University of Texas), but I don't think that emotion is clouding my judgment that this blog post was below your usual standards of well thought out commentary.

(PS would love to make it into the Bag, feel free to edit anything you would like)

-Jacob in Austin
Posted: 11:13 AM   by Blogger wgaleota
I am so terribly tired of the "walk on water" attitudes of many athletes and coaches today.
How wonderful to see some plain love of the sport and loyalty for a change. Coach Stew and the WVU Mountaineers made a wonderful impression on a national broadcast the other night. I was so proud to be a mountaineer that night - win OR lose.
I think I speak for many West Virginias when I say let's give this man a fair chance, support him and our team. This man has great experience and I think the players will not only learn some football but just maybe some life lessons along the way.
God Bless our team and our new head coach!
Posted: 11:33 AM   by Blogger bhsgrad1972
Good grief, Mandel. Why all the negative stuff towards WVU and its new head coach? Did you even WATCH the Fiesta Bowl? I certainly did, and I saw a coach who had his team so fired up that they beat the #3 team in the nation! WVU was supposed to LOSE, and instead they won by 20 points! Bill Stewart held this team together after Rich Rodriguez ABANDONED them to jump to the Wolverweenies. Stewart was the person who kept these players focused. Why shouldn't he have a chance to be the head coach? For crying out loud, give the man a fair shake. I bet YOU couldn't have done what he did after being left holding the bag when Rich Rod bolted.
Posted: 12:20 PM   by Blogger WVbluengold
While watching the Eer's dismantle OU, I thought Coach Stew might be offered the job. I just hoped it would be a 1 yr contract for two reasons.

First-as a thank you for keeping the team focused and beating OU.

Second-to see if he could handle the day to day demands of the job and the pressure being on the national stage.
Posted: 12:20 PM   by Blogger David
Over the past few weeks WVU has proven to have one of the stranger fanbases in the nation. Can we please drop the us-against-the-world, we-don't-get-any-respect, the-media-hates-us rhetoric? This applies to all schools, not only WVU. It's almost as annoying and pointless as conference comparisons.

All hirings are wait and see situations, but this one MUST bring about many concerns if you're a WVU fan. It's not like they hired an up and coming, innovative young coach (which they could have with Butch Jones). This is a veteran/journeyman guy with little name recognition (i.e. no one heard of him before the Fiesta Bowl) who did a great job keeping things together for their triumph over OK. But long term, how will this work out? How good will they be without Calvin Magee, r?If I'm a WVU fan, this makes me feel like the school has undersold itself.

And the hateful Rich Rodriguez backlash needs to stop. It's understandable to be upset, but how about a little perspective? Rich Rod built WVU into the team that annhilated Oklahoma. He left for Michigan, a college football GIANT. Best helmets, fight song, stadium, NFL factory, epic rivalry, endless facilities/resources, great college town, recruiting territory, prestigious academics...I could go on. Simply put, Michigan is a better job. And clearly Rich Rod was not getting along with his bosses. Who can really blame him?

And Sid, it may interest you to learn we are presently living in the 21st Century.

Another pet peeve: when you write things like, "Stewart, your an idiot" at least be grammatically correct.

PEACE! nice blog as always, Stew.
Posted: 12:29 PM   by Blogger JW
Come on 'eer fans, show some class! The team didn't listen to everyone saying they would get creamed by Oklahoma, so follow their example and ignore it. Prove everyone wrong. Who knows if they made a good hire? The proof is on the scoreboard and in the record books. There is plenty of talent in your immediate area (even competing with Penn State and Pitt) to keep you winning 8+ games every year. But can your new coach motivate the team to beat the South Florida's of the football world?
Posted: 12:53 PM   by Blogger J.D. Bolick
>> Come on 'eer fans, show some class!

Class? Mountaineer fans? Of all the college football games I've been to, West Virginia fans were easily the most boorish. Many stadiums have a drunken, rowdy student section, but I can't think of any other team where the adults were equally obnoxious.
Posted: 1:56 PM   by Blogger Brendon
Mandel, as with many other readers, I'm frequently very entertained by your commentary. But I have to agree that your post isn't particularly fair-minded. Stewart may not be a known quantity nationally, but he is a known quantity for the team, and his ability to lead them is certainly an important factor in his hiring. He has as good a likelihood of proving to be an effective leader long-term as any of the other relatively obscure candidates that WVU was considering.

It sounds like much of the concern with Stewart centers around recruiting, but this isn't nearly the issue that people are making it out to be. WVU will likely always be a second-tier team in the eyes of the national pundits because they will always have "second-tier" recruiting classes. The ability of the WVU program to succeed nationally will always depend on taking these lesser-known recruits and turning them into top performers, both individually and as a team. But being able to do that requires a particular emphasis on getting "character" guys--players who are selfless, hungry, and hard-working--and then maximizing their potential by getting them to believe in a system, to play with passion, and to put in the time and embrace the discipline that good execution requires. Bill Belichick, despite his Unabomer persona and his desire to win at all costs, has been overcoming the parity of today's NFL by emphasizing exactly these things on his team.

I am in no way saying that Bill Stewart will become the next Bill Belichick, but rather that if Stewart can be successful emphasizing these things in his coaching style and his recruiting, then there's a good likelihood that WVU will continue to be perennially successful. It's interesting to consider the Mountaineer teams of 2003 and 2004 in contrast--"led" by superior athletes like Pacman Jones and Chris Henry, and chronically unable to play to their potential at crunch time. Stewart seems as likely as any head coach to get great athletes who are the antithesis of these physically gifted but criminally selfish players.

The one argument for Bill Stewart that seems problematic to me is the argument that he deserves the job because of his success in preparing the team for the Fiesta Bowl. It's relatively easy to get a team to play well if they feel no pressure, are emotionally pumped up by a big external motivation, and have nothing to lose--see the 2006 Sugar Bowl. It's much harder when players are tight and wilting under expectations. Rodriguez was never able to get the team to play well in big games when expectations were high, and there's no evidence yet that Stewart will be able to do this either.

But I will say that having humble, hard-working players who play with heart are much easier to prepare for those games. They just need a coach who they believe in and trust not to choke.

As an aside on Rodriguez, he did a lot of positive things to build WVU's prominence, but Michigan should watch the Pitt game tape again and see him losing his composure on the sidelines and making no effective halftime adjustments before they get too excited.
Posted: 2:11 PM   by Blogger huckleberry
WVU kissed Rich Rod's behind to keep him from going to Alabama. That clearly was a mistake because
we could have had Saban.

Rich Ros was a good coach except when he would fall behind before
half-time ie.. Last year against South Florida and Louisville, and this year against South Florida and Louisville. He refuses to make adjustments at half-time because he can not except yhe fact that he is being out coached. He
will be facing one smart coach at the Ohio State.
Speakinf of The Ohio State Jim Rome
said it best,"The Ohio State should thank their lucky stars their not facing WVU and their speed."
Posted: 2:24 PM   by Blogger Realist
Shut up with the speed thing, Huck. Just shut up.
Posted: 2:28 PM   by Blogger Realist
WVU fans are the worst in the country. You failed miserably in buying up the tickets for your bowl game and you're the most boorish, uneducated, and insecure in the history of the game. Try going to a WVU game wearing the opposing team's jersey. At other schools, you'll get singled out for some ribbing, mostly good natured. At WVU, you'll get physically threatened by drunken, middle-aged hillbillies wearing football jerseys and hoodies. It's pathetic. Why did I just waste 3 minutes of my life writing this?
Posted: 2:30 PM   by Blogger Faraway Trojan
I have always had respect for your points of view, whether I agreed or disagreed.

The portrayal of Bill Stewart's hiring in a shallow fashion, was a clear deviation from your character. There was no effort to even inform of what he has contributed, if at all, to the development of the WVU program after all of his years of service, and your condemning of his future (if he succeeds it was Rodriguez, if he fails it was him), neither informs or guides.

Can you confirm he was an impulse hire? Did he have a role in recruitment? In player development? In fundraising support? You comment on salary ( previously around US$120K, meaning the US$800K was a significant first step forward), further cheapens the hire.

In your position as an opinion maker in college football, I would expect more than a knee-jerk reaction. Your opinion may remain the same, but given the impact of your writing, I would recommend more journalistic caution ahead of condemning a coach and a program.
Posted: 3:11 PM   by Blogger Melissa
Wow. I can't believe the harsh criticism towards WVU. Clearly, this guy was one of the top candidates from the beginning and just because he had the label of interim coach, does not make him unqualified. You say you don't know much about Stewart, so how can you even have a credible opinion on Stewart and the WVU administration. Perhaps you should stop getting your 'facts' from message boards.
Posted: 3:14 PM   by Blogger McSnide
Hey Stewart,

Who should WVU have hired? While I'm not overwhelmed by this hire, I don't see how it's any worse than a guy with one year of head coaching experience (Jones), a guy who's been out of coaching for a decade (Bowden), or a guy whose resume is no better or worse but has no personal connection to the current team (Holliday). Anybody who thinks Saban was a real possibility is crazy, and the odds of getting Fisher weren't much better. The other three guys I mentioned were the real options. Which one is better than Bill Stewart and why?

Look, I share many of the same concerns about whether Stewart can recruit and whether he'll be able to maintain a strong enough staff to win longterm. At the same time, next year's club will have enough talent to be a top 10 club again, so why not keep the coaching staff as intact as possible and take a shot at 12-0?

People keep comparing Stewart to Larry Coker. Larry Coker won a national championship his first year and played for another his second. If Stewart's Larry Coker, he'll be a folk hero in WV for the rest of his life.

Anyway, I get your points - Pastilong has made a mess (you don't lose two very good coaches to a different school in the same year unless there's a major underlying problem), and Stewart may not be the second coming of Bear Bryant. That still doesn't mean they had a better option.
mcsnide,

You don't have to worry about WVU going 12-0 next year. Marshall will put an end to that pipedream in September. It's our turn couch burners.

GO HERD!!
Posted: 9:44 PM   by Blogger MountainCat
Mandel is 100% correct. Instead of conducting a professional search for the best qualified candidate the WVU administration used the Good Ole' WV boy network to find someone.

Who would have been better? Uh....did they offer June Jones or Chris Peterson $$$$$ to come to Morgantown? No. Did they call Skip Holtz to see if he would be interested? No. Did they call the Florida offensive coordinator to see if he would be interested? No. Did they call ANY major college coordinators to guage their interest? No.

As a life long WVU fan I am digusted. Ed Pastilong needs to go and WV needs to hire someone with a backbone who can get along with his coaches.
Posted: 1:02 AM   by Blogger Atocep
Chris Peterson was certainly contacted, but not seriously considered because he has zero ties to recruiting on the East Coast. Its hard to take a west coast coach and drop him into a situation where he has to recruit at a school that doesn't recruit for itself.

June Jones has no ties to East Coast recruiting and the current talent does not in any way fit his system. Although a good coach, it would have been a bad hire. Especially when you consider he'll jump at the first NFL job thrown his way.

Dan Mullen may have been the biggest gamble of all the candidates. Almost his entire coaching career has been in Urban Meyer's shadow and he needs to show he can coach on his own before he deserves a BCS conference head coaching job.

Skip Holtz has shown he's a good coach, but nothing special. He took UConn to the playoffs in 1-AA, but his conference record was 22-18 in 5 years, at East Carolina he's been good, but not great. The team has improved in 3 years but not to the point where he deserves a major head coaching position just yet.
Posted: 4:04 AM   by Blogger SolidStateMind
You know, I think the thing that bothers me the most about the West Virginia situation is the way it was handled.
I think Mcsnide said it best:
"WVU may not have had a better alternative than Stewart" : if I were a WVU fan, I'd try to find out for sure what went down between RR and the administration, and then with the coaching search, because if that is actually the case, then it is entirely unacceptable, and until it is addressed, it can't help but hurt Coach Stewart's chances for success.
Posted: 2:07 AM   by Blogger Vidharr
It's amazing what some people have turned college football into these days. Evidently a whole lot of you armchair geniuses never actually put the pads on in your life, or you were a kicker.

Football is all about emotion, every bit of it, every play. You have to be in control of your emotions when the odds are against you when you're on offense in the backfield or outside. If you're offensive or defensive line, every single play is 110% emotional or you get your teeth kicked in. If you're a linebacker, you have to reign in your aggressive emotions so you don't get burned in play action but can still cover while looking for the draw. If you're a defensive back, you have to think like a duelist in man-to-man coverage, stick/move/parry/riposte and only go for the kill when you know it will be clean and avoid pass interference or worse, a burn. In zone, you play like the 300 and don't ever let anyone past you.

People talk about "innovation" phht... that's almost a joke. Football is about running, blocking, tackling, throwing, catching, and kicking. Nothing else. The team who's players can do the majority of these simple things better than the other team WILL win the game.

Emotion: The coach who can best bring out the right emotions at the right time in his players will be a success. Bear Bryant, Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes, Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden and other truly great coaches, made/make sure their players excel at all the fundamentals, work hard physically in practice to perform at their best in the game, study all aspects of their positions so they can play the best that they can at the position and know the playbook inside and out.

They do NOT sit around with a brain trust of assistant coaches trying to think up new and "innovative" ways to play football. If by small chance as history has proven out (football hasn't changed much in the last 50 years) someone comes up with a new wrinkle on an offensive formation or defensive stunt, then yay for them.

However, even with the fastest and strongest players on the planet, if those players don't *want* to be there to play and *want* to play for their coach, their school and their pride...then all the innovation in the damn world won't make them winners.

Only pride, desire, a ravenous hunger to win and a willingness to endure the pain of transforming themselves individually and bonding as a team will make them winners.

The coach's JOB is to guide this transformation to the best of his ability, and utilize the strengths of his team to exploit the weaknesses of the opposing team because in the end, the coach is NOT on the field and in the battle. The players are the ones that have to perform, whatever philosophy the coach may have is almost immaterial.

I'll take an emotionally cohesive, fired up, simplified scheme team that believes in themselves and their coach over a drama filled, stupidly and overly complex mob of players with an "innovative" prima donna coach any day of the week, and I'll win 6 out of 7 of those days.

I'll take any of Bear Bryant's, Joe Paterno's, or Woody Hayes' *average* teams and play 10 games against *any* other so-called "innovative" coach's teams that rely on trickery and complexity, and the hard-nosed, kick-ass blood and guts teams will piledrive them nearly every time.

'Nuff said. I hope WVU and their new coach makes fools out of all the naysayers, and no I'm not a hardcore Mountaineer fan, but happy they pulled off a great win. (Geaux Tigers) But seeing a bunch of sissies talking about innovation as the key to football really just cracks me up. Only a sissy who never put pads on would even think it.

I'll take a group of average players who are so fired up they have to fight wood after laying a monster hit on someone over an Einstein any day. A coach a team will win for is the coach that absolutely *convinces* his linemen that they have the best positions in football because they get to knock the crap out of someone every single play.

I'll see your innovation and raise you Dick Butkus at Illinois emotion, and I'll bet you fold or lose your ass.
Posted: 4:15 AM   by Blogger anderson smith
Yes, I am sure that WVU would be really disappointed with an NC in 2 years. How would they ever be able to recover from that?
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