The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

November 28, 2010

Stew shoots down rumors

West Virginia coach says he is not retiring, contrary to weekend reports

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia coach Bill Stewart wasted little time Sunday squelching rumors of his impending retirement at the season’s end.

And just as emphatic.

“First and foremost, let me begin by saying the reports of my retirement are greatly exaggerated,” Stewart said, leading off his weekly Sunday press conference.

Some Internet reports over the weekend — started on a pay website — said, some quoting sources, that Stewart planned to retire at the end of the 2010 season.

West Virginia (8-3) wraps up the regular season Saturday, hosting Rutgers at noon at Milan Puskar Center. A bowl will follow.

“In fact, you’re hearing it directly from me, Bill Stewart, I have no intention of walking away,” Stewart said. “I’m not focusing on retirement. Lastly, and most importantly, I’m focusing on Rutgers.”

West Virginia can earn a share of the Big East title with a win over Rutgers. And if South Florida beats Connecticut at South Florida, the Mountaineers would win the conference title outright and a bid to a BCS game, likely the Fiesta Bowl against the champion of the Big 12.

“I really don’t care if I see one snap of the UConn-USF game Saturday night,” Stewart said. “If we beat Rutgers, we are the Big East champs, and that was our goal. The rest of that stuff is for others. My focus is Rutgers.”

The Mountaineers are coming off a 35-10 win over Pittsburgh Friday and Stewart liked what he saw from the big backs — Shawne Alston and Ryan Clarke —that were used more than usual.

“I like what we’re doing with the two big backs,” Stewart said. “I like what I’m seeing from Shawne (Alston) and (Ryan) Clarke. I really like Matt Lindamood being able to come out and play some fullback as well. I’m starting to like this look.

“What I saw Friday is that they (Pitt) had trouble just tackling our guys — they (Alston and Clarke) are two big, 200-plus-pound men. That’s a pretty good deal. Then, you still have Brad Starks, Tavon Austin and Jock Sanders out there.”

Which led to Stewart envisioning the future at WVU.

“We won’t lose anyone next year except Jock, Noel (Devine) and (offensive lineman Eric) Jobe,” he said. “I think the future is very bright. Also, we’ll have our quarterback back for the first time in three years. We’ve had three years in this offense with three different quarterbacks. I’d challenge anyone in this country to do that.”

— E-mail: demorrison@

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