- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Bill Stewart resigned as West Virginia football coach on Friday night, making way for head-coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen to take over the team a year earlier than scheduled.
The move seemed to be the only one athletic director Oliver Luck could make after two weeks of melodrama that took over the football program. There is a press conference scheduled for 9 p.m. EDT to discuss the move.
Luck and university president James P. Clements issued statements ahead of the press conference:
“It has recently been a difficult time for all of us who love Mountaineer football and our University. As a first comment, let me make this clear, the University has not substantiated any allegations of wrong doing on the part of Coach Stewart or his wife Karen Stewart.
The University will have no further comment on those allegations.
“Today, I accepted the resignation of head coach Bill Stewart.
“Coach Stewart and I have talked these past few days, and both believe this is the right thing to do for our football program, our team, our University, our State -- and all of Mountaineer nation.
“He respects the Mountaineer program and the student-athletes he coaches too much to let any conflict and any perception of disorder continue to be a distraction to the staff, team and fans. We both agree that the program's energy and focus should be on the upcoming season.
“I want to thank Bill for his devotion and service to WVU. He is a true Mountaineer and will always be a part of the Mountaineer program. I wish him and his family all the best, always.
“As you can imagine, this decision did not come easily for either of us. Bill took over as interim head coach in 2008 and rallied a team, a University and a state when we all needed a champion. He guided us to three successful seasons. He mentored many student-athletes.
“Bill sends this message to all Mountaineers, ‘As I said on the day I was appointed head coach, what is best for WVU is my first priority. Today, I am doing what I believe to be in the best interest of the Mountaineer Nation.’”
“I want to thank Bill Stewart for his long service to Mountaineer football. I also wish him and his family the very best. Like every Mountaineer, I look forward to a great season, and know our athletic department and our student-athletes will work extremely hard to make us proud.”
24mMax Olson and Brian Bennett