The soap opera in Morgantown took another turn for the worst late Monday night/early Tuesday morning when a Pittsburgh-based sports writer told KDKA-FM that West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart suggested that the writer "dig up dirt" on future replacement Dana Holgorsen back in December.
Colin Dunlap, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was a guest on Chris Mueller's late night radio show on 93.7 The Fan (CBS Radio - Pittsburgh). As you will see from the excerpts below, Dunlap said that Stewart called him on December 18, three days after Holgorsen was hired by West Virginia as offensive coordinator and awarded the "coach-in-waiting" title.
(You can listen to the audio here, via KDKA-FM, Sports By Brooks)
“It was actually my birthday, December 18, it was the day he (Stewart) was going to the bowl game because I distinctly remember there was a coaches convention in Pittsburgh with high school coaches. He was (then) flying from Pittsburgh down to Orlando to the bowl game for pre-prep work..“
” … He (Stewart) tried to flame-throw the guy (Holgorsen) in December by calling me and at least one other reporter because the reporter and I discussed it. He said, ‘can you get the word ’scumbag’ tattooed on the front of the sports page?’
“‘(Stewart said) you need to dig up this dirt. You need to get it out on this guy.’ And I said, ‘hey man, I’m not a part of some witch hunt.’” “… If you want to go look at my cell phone records you can, I don’t need to hide from it. The conversation happened the day he (Stewart) was driving to the airport from the high school coaches convention in Pittsburgh. He was on his way to Orlando. Dave McMichael (West Virginia assistant coach) was in the car with him. The conversation happened.”
This is obviously one of the pieces that led to all the "Benedict Arnold" talk that began on Sunday night. For Stewart to reach out like that to a sports writer who primarily covers the Mountaineers' chief rival is dancing with the devil and walking her home. Unfortunately, we can only assume the reaction from this will either be a full denial from Stewart or some swift action from West Virginia.
The school began an internal investigation into leaks from within the football program after Chuck Landon's damning article of Holgorsen included what the university called "blatant inaccuracies." While this reported phone conversation did not lead to any successful "dirt," it does not look good for Stewart (or anyone connected with him) that he was trying to get bad press on Holgorsen as far back as December.
Buckle in folks, Morgantown: 26501 is just heating up. Keep checking in back here at the Eye on College Football for the response from Stewart and/or West Virginia.