WHILE THE dancing in the country roads continues over Rich Rodriguez's reported firing:
Most reading this column know the underpinnings of that rumor. Former Oklahoma State assistant Dana Holgorsen has been hired as WVU's offensive coordinator/head coach in waiting. With NCAA violations hanging over his head, Stewart signed a modified contract that calls for him to receive his full pay ($950,000) and possible incentives for next season before stepping out.
So why would Stewart not coach his beloved Mountaineers next season? The man says he loves his school. He'll be making around a million dollars to coach his school. And where else in this universe could Stewart make a million dollars next year?
Also, on top of reason, every credible source contacted said they expect Stewart (who hasn't been talking to the media of late) to return. That includes WVU athletic director Oliver Luck.
"Absolutely," Luck said Tuesday. "I don't know where that rumor came from. I fully expect him to be the head coach. He's fully engaged in recruiting right now."
According to the AD and his assistant, Mike Parsons, Holgorsen took a day or two to visit family after OSU's bowl victory, then hit the recruiting trail for WVU. Luck suggested the coach might be recruiting in Texas.
The AD said Holgorsen's new hires - Shannon Dawson, Bill Bedenbaugh and Robert Gillespie - have also hit the recruiting trail after meeting with West Virginia's compliance staff.
Here's the deal: A contact period is ongoing until Jan. 29. But there was a "dead period" from Dec. 20 through Monday. ("Dead'' means nearly all recruiting activity is shut down.) There will be a "quiet period" on Jan. 9. ("Quiet" means in-person activity is mostly limited to the recruiting school's campus.) It turns "dead" again Jan. 10 through 13. Then it turns "quiet" Jan. 30. It returns to "dead" on Jan. 31 through the Feb. 3 signing day.