Let’s fast forward to 2010, as we wrap up this three part mini-series in our look at some of the lowest moments in Mountaineers sports history, and take a look at what I’d pinpoint as the exact moment that West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck decided it was time to move on from the Bill Stewart experience.
Friday, October 29, 2010. Fresh off a bad 19-14 loss to the Syracuse Orange, the West Virginia Mountaineers traveled to Storrs, Connecticut to take on Randy Edsall’s UConn Huskies - a team that up to this point had never beaten the Mountaineers.
In a game that saw West Virginia fumble the ball away an impressive six times in regulation, the Mountaineers were never actually out of it.
With the game tied at 13 with less than 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Bill Stewart opted to punt on a 4th-and-9 from UConn’s 33, rather than attempt a field goal into the wind or go for it. UConn got the ball on the 1, and was able to run out the clock.
West Virginia got the ball first in overtime and, after a holding penalty was called on the first play of the drive, covered 31 yards in 5 plays to get to the one yard line. With what would end up being the Big East championship hinging on one play, running back Ryan Clarke coughed the ball up for a second time that night. UConn’s Lawrence Wilson recovered on the four yard line, and West Virginia’s defense were tasked with doing something they’d been able to do the entire game - stop running back Jordan Todman.
Todman carried the ball four times to get the Huskies to the nine yard line, allowing kicker Dave Teggart to kick a 27 yard field goal for the win and effectively marking the end of the Bill Stewart tenure in Morgantown.
Stewart was informed the following week, after a win over the Cincinnati Bearcats, that major changes would have to be made in the program. On December 15, 2010, Luck announced that Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen had been hired in the same capacity for the Mountaineers and would be named head coach-in-waiting, with Stewart stepping into a role inside the athletic department and ceding the head coach position to Holgorsen following the 2011 season.