Some days I’m more proud than others to be a West Virginia boy and a West Virginia University alum. Today, as mournful Mountaineers remember former WVU football coach Bill Stewart, is one of those days.
Stewart died on a West Virginia golf course this afternoon while playing in a charity tournament with Ed Pastilong, the former WVU athletic director who took a chance and hired Stewart as head coach in 2008. At age 59, he was much too young.
Mountaineers have spent the past several hours filling their corner of the Internet with tributes to Stewart. The most popular is Stewart’s “Leave No Doubt” speech, which inspired a Mountaineers team rocked by the cowardly betrayal of Rich (Gotta Get Richer) Rodriguez to an upset victory in the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl:
This photo also has been saturating my Facebook feed:
But this clip really captures the blue-and-gold enthusiasm that all Mountaineers loved about Bill Stewart, even those fans who didn’t think he was a great coach:
Two quotes from the Associated Press story linked above add context to that clip:
Everybody could see it, including non-West Virginian sports writers like ESPN’s Brian Bennett, who today explained why Stewart’s legacy at WVU is more than wins and losses:
As Bennett said at the end of his touching essay, “There was no head coach like Bill Stewart, and there weren’t many people quite like him, either.”
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