Stewart Selected West Virginia Coach

The school dropped the interim tag from Stewart's title after the 11th-ranked Mountaineers' 48-28 win over No. 3 Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday night.

Stewart will be officially introduced Thursday at an 11 a.m. EST news conference at the team's hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., athletic department spokesman Mike Fragale confirmed in a phone call with The Associated Press.

Stewart was promoted from associate head coach to interim coach after Rich Rodriguez left for Michigan last month.

Mountaineers quarterback Pat White, who ran for 150 yards and threw for 176 and two touchdowns in the Fiesta Bowl victory, began stumping for Stewart on the field after the game.

"He deserves it," White said. "A great man. A great coach. All the players respect him and all the players love him. You couldn't ask for a better man to lead us to victory today."

Fullback Owen Schmitt, who scored on a 57-yard run, called Stewart the "glue" that kept the Mountaineers together during a rocky month.

"We're a family," Schmitt said. "That's why we prevailed."

Stewart came to West Virginia as quarterbacks coach in January 2000 after two seasons as offensive coordinator in the Canadian Football League.

Don Nehlen, the former Mountaineers coach who hired Stewart, said Thursday he was glad his former assistant had landed the job.

"He's just such a good person and the kids love him," Nehlen said. "It's such a good fit with the program."

A message left for Rodriguez early Thursday was not immediately returned.

Stewart, a New Martinsville native, was head coach at VMI from 1994-96, compiling an 8-25 record. He also had stints as an assistant at Salem College, North Carolina, Marshall, William & Mary, Navy, Arizona State and Air Force.

Stewart was a three-year letterman and team captain for Fairmont State, which won the West Virginia Conference championship in 1974. He graduated from Fairmont State in 1975 and received a master's degree in health and physical education from WVU two years later.

Stewart began his coaching career at Fairmont as a student assistant coach for one season before becoming an assistant coach at Sistersville High School in 1975.

Story Courtesy: AP Wire Reports


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