Former WVU coach Bill Stewart had ties to Navy, Air Force


Bill Stewart, who died Monday at age 59, served as an assistant coach at Navy in 1984 and at Air Force in the early 1990s. (US Presswire photo by Mark Zerof)

The death of former West Virginia football coach Bill Stewart on Monday brought about many tributes and remembrances, many with a common theme — mourning the loss of “a true Mountaineer” and “a rock-solid West Virginian.”

Stewart was born in West Virginia and died on a golf course in that state nearly 60 years later of an apparent heart attack. But his coaching career — which ended in 2010 after a decade with WVU, including three years in the top job — took him all over the place, with stops in Arizona, Canada, North Carolina, and on the sidelines of both Air Force and Navy.

He coached the Mids in 1984 under Gary Tranquill, who Stewart called “the best football coach I ever worked with” in this 2011 profile. He also had kind words for Fisher DeBerry, his boss at Air Force from 1990-93, saying his “enthusiasm was second to none.”

He coached the defensive line at Air Force under DeBerry for four seasons, which resulted in three Liberty Bowl appearances and led to his first head coaching job in 1994 at Virginia Military Institute. He began his WVU head coaching career after Rich Rodriguez left the Mountaineers for Michigan before the 2008 Fiesta Bowl; this Denver Post piece from 2008 recounts that story and lets Stewart relay some fond memories of Colorado Springs before reinforcing the common theme: “Stewart … is a true blue (and gold) West Virginia mountain man.”

Reports say Stewart was recounting a story about DeBerry on the golf course when he passed away. Stewart was 59.


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