Posted by Chip Patterson
When West Virginia brought in offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, he was basically given the keys to the program with a head coach guarantee starting in 2012. At the same time, current head coach Bill Stewart was put on a timer, with a leash. Many Mountaineer fans felt bad for Stewart, a coach who has been respected and adored by many around the conference. But what several fans found out this week is that Stewart agreed to the current coaching arrangement back on November 17, in a written agreement recently obtained by the Charleston Daily Mail.
The agreement is between Stewart and athletic director Oliver Luck, on behalf of the West Virginia Board of Governors. It details an amendment to the employment agreement laid out in Stewart's contract. The date of the agreement is particularly interesting, not only because it was just before the Mountaineers closed with three straight wins to tie for the Big East title, but because it was on the same day that the program agreed to move forward with an NCAA infractions case.
At the time, it was those infractions, not the back-to-back losses to Connecticut and Syracuse, that posed the biggest threat to Stewart's employment status. In August, the NCAA accused West Virginia for five major violations for allowing unauthorized people to perform coaching duties, additionally secondary violations were self-reported for use of pads on the second day of practice.
By signing the written agreement, Stewart was given the option to resign at the end of 2010 (and receive a benefits package that included tickets, use of a car, and an "alternate employment position") or the possibility of returning to coach in 2011. If Stewart did not sign the agreement, he would risk losing his job because of the NCAA infractions case. The agreement was amended in a written letter on December 7 to detail Stewart's setup for 2011 as the head coach, with a "coach in waiting" (Dana Holgorsen) brought on staff as offensive coordinator.
If anything, this story is an interesting look into the complicated agreements/scenarios that exist between a college football coach and his university. Clearly Oliver Luck and the West Virginia Board of Governors were trying to put themselves in the best position to move forward regardless of NCAA ruling. The Mountaineers proceeded to finish their season with three straight wins, but their offensive struggles hurt them once again in their 23-7 Champs Sports Bowl loss to N.C. State. Tip of the hat to the Charleston Daily Mail for digging up the documents. You can check out all the Legalese by hitting the links below.
Bill Stewart - Oliver Luck written agreement, November 17, 2010
Bill Stewart - Oliver Luck written agreement (with December 7 amendment on final page)