MORGANTOWN - His job may or may not be hanging by a thread. While public opinion on the matter seems mixed, any decisions in that regard belong to Oliver Luck and West Virginia's administration.
And he's not tipping his hand or even discussing it.
Still, if Bill Stewart is concerned about his immediate future as WVU's football coach, he's not letting on. In fact, during a lengthy phone interview Wednesday, he talked as much about the 2011 Mountaineers as he did about his job security.
He didn't discuss his job situation, adamantly refusing to go into specifics about the very public charges that he attempted to undermine new offensive coordinator and his eventual successor, Dana Holgorsen.
But he was prodded to speak about the obvious awkwardness of being a lame-duck coach, of working with a successor that he did not choose and the process of working through the inevitable kinks.
Stewart insists that doing so is no more difficult than he imagined.
"There are differences in every staff I've ever been a part of,'' Stewart said while on his way to an 1100 Club event in Parkersburg. "Has it been perfectly smooth? No. But we had a good spring, we're going to have a good summer and those are the times when teams and coaching staffs bond. You bond in the spring. You bond during the summer.
"A lot of people say the coach-in-waiting thing won't work. The naysayers say it can't. But it can work. It will work.''
There is, of course, more to this than simply a coach-in-waiting controversy. Stewart is accused of asking a reporter back in December to "dig up dirt'' on Holgorsen, who had just been named his eventual successor. There are also unsubstantiated tales of Stewart being behind since-debunked rumors that Holgorsen has run into trouble in numerous bars around the state since he was hired by WVU.
The only substantiated incident regarding Holgorsen was when he was asked to leave the Mardi Gras Casino in Cross Lanes at 3:20 a.m. one late night in May. Both Holgorsen and Luck, the school's athletic director, issued statements following that incident.