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Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Associate head coach to prepare Mountaineers for Fiesta Bowl

Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia associate head coach Bill Stewart was named interim coach as the administration starts looking for a permanent replacement for Rich Rodriguez. Stewart will also take over recruiting.

Stewart is the second-longest serving assistant coach in the program. He was retained by Rodriguez when he replaced Don Nehlen for the 2001 season.

Stewart was promoted to his current title this season and coached special teams and tight ends. He relinquished his role as quarterbacks coach, which he held since 2000.

West Virginia departs Morgantown on Dec. 26 and will face Oklahoma (No. 4 BCS, No. 3 AP) in the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.

Stewart and WVU athletic director Ed Pastilong didn't immediately return telephone messages Tuesday.

Stewart has been an assistant at Marshall, William & Mary, Navy, North Carolina, Arizona State and Air Force. He became head coach at VMI in 1994 and went 8-25 over three seasons.

After a stint in the CFL, he joined the West Virginia staff in 2000.

Rodriguez announced that he wasn't going to coach West Virginia in the bowl game out of concern that it would create too much of a distraction. That would make him the first coach to get a team to the BCS but not coach in it.

To complicate matters for West Virginia, Rodriguez introduced two of his top assistant coaches at his Michigan news conference and said he would like to bring more from Morgantown. Offensive coordinator Calvin Magee declined comment at the news conference on his immediate plans and didn't immediately return a telephone message Tuesday.

Secondary coach and recruiting coordinator Tony Gibson, whose WVU contract runs through June, said he planned to remain with the Mountaineers for the bowl game.