Stewart says he'll coach Mountaineers in 2011
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Bill Stewart reaffirmed he will be back at West Virginia in 2011.
The Mountaineers' third-year football coach, despite being demoted after next season, said Tuesday he will work alongside coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen as Stewart's newly changed contract stipulates.
"That's my marching orders, and that's what I'm going with," Stewart said. "I am looking very much forward after this bowl to see how exciting it is going to be in 2011. Then, we'll just take it from there.
"I haven't lost my job. I'll be back next year."
Stewart spoke publicly for the first time since the announcement that Holgorsen would take over as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach next season, then replace Stewart as head coach in 2012.
Stewart was upbeat when he met with the media yesterday and said news of the coaching changes haven't distracted his team. He wouldn't address many specifics about the situation, saying he wanted to focus on the Champs Sports Bowl against North Carolina State on Dec. 28.
"That was addressed last week," Stewart said. "I'm taking my marching orders, and we're going to finish this thing this year and talk about next season when that gets upon us."
Stewart wouldn't divulge any conversations he's had with athletic director Oliver Luck or recruits about the coaching change.
Stewart didn't mention Holgorsen's name once in yesterday's 22-minute media session. The two, along with Luck, will be at a news conference today.
"You want some answers, and I'm all in. Let's get it all out in the open," said Stewart, who agreed prior to the end of the season to do yesterday's news conference.
There have been reports that some WVU coaches weren't informed about the coaching changes before they were announced last week. Stewart said his coaching staff has acted in a "very professional" manner in preparing for the bowl game.
"I can honestly tell you that there have been no distractions around us," Stewart said. "It's just been work as normal."
Offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen wasn't as upbeat as Stewart following the team's practice yesterday. A somber Mullen took questions from the media for the first time after learning he would be fired following this season.
Mullen, a finalist for the head coaching position at Kent State that was filled by Ohio State wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell, said he doesn't know where he will go following the bowl game.
"I didn't see this coming," Mullen said. "We all know the outcome, and that's all that matters."
Offensive line coach Dave Johnson also won't return after this season.
"I've tried to keep everything in perspective. ... It's about being a man, not just a coach," Johnson said. "I'm going to stay focused on what we're doing. This game is going to come and go, and this is an opportunity we owe to our seniors and want to put into everything we can to prepare for it."