Former West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart has passed away at the age of 59 today after apparently suffering a heart attack on a golf course. Stewart was the man responsible for giving Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin his first college coaching job in 1995 at Virginia Military Institute. Stewart ultimately resigned the head coaching job at VMI in 1996 after making a racially-insensitive comment towards a player regarding his on-field behavior.
In December of 2007 Stewart was named interim head coach of the Mountaineers after Rich Rodriguez bolted for Michigan and it was Tomlin who called WVU President Michael Garrison at that time to give his vote of confidence for the promotion of Stewart when the VMI racial slur incident resurfaced. Stewart resigned as the WVU head coach in June of 2011 after reportedly being involved in a smear campaign aimed at his named successor Dana Holgorsen.
After the Steelers chose not to renew the contract of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians following the 2011 season, it was rumored that Stewart might be a potential candidate to be added to the Steelers coaching staff, but that rumor was never substantiated and the Steelers ultimately hired Todd Haley as their new offensive coordinator.
There is no word yet if Tomlin will miss any of the first scheduled OTA sessions that get underway this week because of the passing of Stewart.