MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- In the end, Oliver Luck said Friday night, his investigation into allegations that Bill Stewart tried to undermine the West Virginia University football program provided scant evidence, at best.
That lack of substantiation was far from enough, though, to convince the WVU athletic director that, for the good of the program, he didn't need to seek Stewart's resignation.
He got it, too, on Friday when Stewart, under pressure to do so, submitted his resignation and ended a week of controversy and months of awkwardness.
Dana Holgorsen, the team's offensive coordinator and designated coach-in-waiting -- against whom Stewart was accused of plotting -- was introduced Friday night as the school's 33rd head coach.
"The program, as Dana mentioned, is more important than any individual," Luck said at a hastily called Friday night news conference. "It's more important than any coach or any player. And clearly this was becoming a distraction for our football program - and having been a former student-athlete, I think the one thing you don't want is any distractions.
"I think the totality of the circumstances, the totality of all the innuendo and the other things that were being said and the distractions that I believed would not come to a close prompted me to sit down with Coach Stewart over the last couple of days and discuss these issues in a very frank and candid manner."
Stewart did not answer phone calls or return messages Friday afternoon and evening.
His exit played out in only a matter of hours Friday after days of speculation. As late as Thursday night, Stewart and his attorney at the time, David Hendrickson, said they had not spoken to Luck about Stewart's job.
Hendrickson did tell the Gazette on Thursday night, however, that if or when Luck approached Stewart, Hendrickson probably would ask the coach to find another attorney.
Hendrickson has close ties to the university and is the chairman of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. He had represented Stewart last November and December, when WVU officials essentially forced Stewart to surrender his multiyear contract and replaced it with a one-year deal.
Stewart did, indeed, change attorneys when it became apparent there would have to be some negotiations about his future. He was represented Friday by Morgantown lawyer Michael Benninger.
How much Stewart will be paid to walk away is not entirely clear, but it will be considerable. None of the money, however, was negotiated Friday -- or even this week. Luck said Stewart will simply be paid what he is entitled to pursuant to the amended contract he signed in November 2010.
"We will pay Coach Stewart sums that we are obligated to pay him under his existing contract," Luck said, refusing to answer two other questions for more detail.
Stewart's existing contract, however, is somewhat ambiguous, in part because of at least one typographical error concerning a date. The agreement he signed in November stipulated that he was to be paid $750,000 in liquidated damages when he tore up what remained of a six-year contract to sign a one-year deal. The date he was to be paid by was Jan. 31, 2011, but that apparently was meant to read 2012.
So Stewart is still owed that money, as well as what remains of his $950,000 salary for 2011, which would be roughly half the total because the contract coincides generally with the calendar year.
There also is a stipulation in that agreement that the university would provide Stewart with a 30-month job and pay him $375,000 after his coaching days end. Luck said Friday night that Stewart will not be asked to stay on at the university in any capacity, but it's not entirely clear if Stewart is still owed that money.