The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 18, 2010

Aiming high

Stewart believes WVU can contend for national title

MORGANTOWN — At the time Bill Stewart said it, the comment seemed out of character, for Bill Stewart isn’t one for making outrageous statements.

But the words came out of his mouth after the Gator Bowl had been played, a comment that seemed to indicate he believed his West Virginia football program was on the verge of competing for a national championship over the next two years.

Here was a man who took over a program that stood at the verge of such a championship three seasons back, that had won 11 games three straight years and was beating Pitt away from playing for the national title.

When that didn’t occur and when the coach, Rich Rodriguez, said “Sayonara” and jumped to Michigan, when Steve Slaton, Owen Schmitt and Darius Reynaud followed to the pros, taking Johnny Dingle with them, when Patrick White graduated, and when 11-win seasons became 9-win seasons with some troubling losses to teams like East Carolina and Colorado, it appeared as if national championships were little more than pipe dreams.

But Bill Stewart was not kidding, either you or himself, when he spoke of reaching such lofty heights in the next couple of seasons.

He believes.

“Here’s my statement,” he said on Friday during an hour-long interview in the cafeteria at the Puskar Center over a couple of cups of nothing stronger than coffee. “If I’m the coach and I don’t believe we can contend for a national championship, the staff can’t believe it and, more important, the team won’t believe it.

“But you have to believe it. Is that a bold thing I’m saying? All I’m saying is we have a chance if we stay healthy — it depends on the physical health — to make a run over the next couple of years.”

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age

    The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
    “There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”

    April 24, 2014

  • O’Brien leads WVU baseball past Marshall

    Catcher Cam O’Brien made a bid at becoming only the second West Virginia University player to hit for the cycle as the Mountaineers jumped on Marshall early and routed their in-state rival, 10-3, behind strong pitching from Corey Walter and a pair of relievers.

    April 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- WVU faithful again have a reason to root against Vick

    It would be one final indignation, that’s what it would be if Michael Vick were to beat out Geno Smith and win the starting quarterback job with the New York Jets.

    April 23, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Luck open to WVU fans’ suggestions

    West Virginia’s fans have spoken, perhaps not verbally but nonetheless have had their voices heard, over the past few years as attendance has fallen at the Mountaineers’ football and basketball games.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mountaineers ready for slate of rivalry games

    Looking to put together a late-season run to get into the NCAA championships, West Virginia faces a pair of midweek rivalry games in a crucial five-game week coming off winning two of three games at Oklahoma.

    April 22, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right

    The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.

    April 21, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads