ON THE HEELS of Bill Stewart's sacking, I believe many West Virginia football fans are feeling a sense of relief.
It's over. A mop was - finally - taken to the toxic mess. A fait accompli.
Sure, there's angst over Dana Holgorsen, in light of recent news, taking over. He'll have to prove to some he's worthy of leading young, impressionable men.
It is, however, a new start for the Mountaineers. A real new start. There aren't two de facto head coaches. There is one head coach.
Before moving on, however, let's take a moment and address Stewart's legacy.
If you look at the won-lost record, that legacy isn't shabby. He was 28-12 overall and 2-2 in bowl games. In 2111, he'll be looked at admirably.
But that's not how he'll be remembered in the near future. He'll be remembered as a man not qualified for the job who tried mightily, who put on a brave face, but couldn't overcome his shortcomings. Harsh, perhaps, but accurate.
And, truthfully, at times, it was difficult to watch. There were many, many winces.
You could, however, see signs of what was to come almost immediately.
Stewart, of course, was a hero coming off the 2007 Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma. He charmed all at the BCS game after Rich Rodriguez announced he was bolting for Michigan. Stewart smiled and laughed in the face of a dark moment. Billy the Kid, he was.
Then, when he was installed permanently, I typed a column questioning the qualifications. I wished the man well, but pointed to the fact that he was demoted under Rich Rodriguez in order to bring in Rod Smith as quarterbacks coach.
Stewart didn't take kindly to that. Weeks after the column appeared, he voiced the displeasure, saying Rodriguez asked him if it was OK to make the move. (Consider, by the way, the all-star staff Rodriguez had at the time. Butch Jones, now the head coach at Cincinnati. Todd Graham, now the head coach at Pitt. Smith, who gave up the South Florida offensive coordinator position to move back to his home state. Rick Trickett, Calvin Magee, Herb Hand, Tony Gibson . . .)