MORGANTOWN - All indications Thursday evening seemed to point in the same direction - that Bill Stewart is about to lose his job as West Virginia's head football coach, the final strokes of the pen perhaps taking place today.
The only real unexpected twist, though, is a rather strange one. Apparently neither Stewart nor his attorney, David Hendrickson of Charleston, are in the loop. Despite numerous reports that a buyout is being negotiated, it isn't being negotiated with Stewart.
"There have been no negotiations,'' Hendrickson said Thursday evening while awaiting a delayed flight in New York. "I haven't heard from the athletic department today.''
Oliver Luck, WVU's athletic director, continued to steadfastly refuse comment on what was going to happen with his school's embattled coach, but did admit that "no one wants this to drag out any longer than it needs to.''
One source with intimate knowledge of the situation would say only that "I think you all know where this is headed.''
And that would be the termination of Stewart and the early elevation of offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen into his spot as the school's head coach. That was supposed to happen after the 2011 season, but it now appears that Stewart might only watch that as a fan.
Still, there is no reliable confirmation from any sources that Stewart is, in fact, on his last legs. The only one with absolute knowledge of that is Luck, and he is not talking.
"I can't say anything,'' he said in response to a question about when a resolution might be made known. "I'm just not going to go there. I know that's not what you're looking for, but I'm just not going to talk about it.''
Multiple outlets Thursday night reported that the decision has been made, but none cited specific sources and almost all mentioned negotiations for a buyout. But no negotiations are taking place.
Still, if in fact the decision has been made to terminate Stewart, the only real issue left to be resolved might be contractual. When Stewart was forced to amend his 2008 multi-year contract in December of last year, the new pact agreed to pay him $750,000 in liquidated damages by Jan. 31, 2011 and then provide him with employment elsewhere in the university for 30 months, with compensation being another $375,000. But that was before the school decided to allow Stewart to coach the team in 2011.