The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 13, 2009

HERTZEL COLUMN - WVU fine as second fiddle in Gator Bowl

MORGANTOWN — Bill Stewart could get to liking this big time coaching thing.

Like you turn on your TV and there he is front and center, all spiffed up in Sunday best, sitting with his bride and dining at Stefano’s in a commercial.

Then last week, he jumped on a plane and flew off to New York City where he got to rub elbows with the likes of Lou Holtz and Tim Tebow and Don Nehlen and try the chow at some big ol’ hotel they call the Waldorf-Astoria.

And that was just the first stop on his journey, for next, as the weather turned cold and blustery, he headed south to Florida, undoubtedly sitting in the shade of a swaying palm tree, sipping on a pina colada and wondering if ol’ Bill Kirelawich was warm enough back home.

That he was second banana in the biggest thing to hit Jacksonville since Ponce de Leon marched on through there in search for the Fountain of Youth, it hardly bothered him because he was being paired with a man who actually seemed to have discovered said fountain.

His name is Bobby Bowden and he is the featured attraction in this year’s Gator Bowl, which matches Stewart’s West Virginia University Mountaineers with Bowden’s Florida Seminoles, a game that makes a perfect circle out of Bowden’s coaching career for he got his start in the big time as WVU’s head coach back in 1970.

Indeed, young Billy Stewart actually was a WVU freshman at that time, playing on Bowden’s freshman team coached by Donny Young.

With this being the final game of Bowden’s Hall of Fame career and coming in the state of Florida, it is safe to assume that the Mountaineers are playing second fiddle in this one-man band.

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Bob Herzel
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