MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Bill Stewart met with West Virginia's football team for what is probably the final time Saturday morning, just hours after Athletic Director Oliver Luck announced Stewart's resignation.
Stewart didn't speak for long and didn't say anything to elaborate on the circumstances prompting his departure, but was instead positive, supportive and confident he was doing the right thing for the Mountaineers.
"He said he wanted to eliminate the distractions and he thought it was best for the university, best for the program and best for the state," senior receiver Tyler Urban said.
Stewart, 59, was in the center of news last week that WVU had begun looking at the football program and others affiliated with the athletic department.
The university suspected someone from within was exaggerating stories about offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen and compromising his transition to head coach.
WVU met with Stewart and his attorney Friday and reached a settlement agreement in the afternoon. A press conference at 9 p.m. that night announced the conclusion of the matter, but provided no explanation for what prompted Stewart's decision.
Luck said WVU couldn't substantiate any rumors or allegations and declined to get into the investigation, citing his desire to move forward.
"Clearly, this was becoming a distraction for our football program," said Luck, who played quarterback at WVU and was hired a year ago Friday. "Having been a former student-athlete, I think the one thing you don't want around any program are distractions. The totality of the circumstances, the totality of the innuendo and all the things that were being said, the distractions that I believe would not come to a close prompted me to sit down with coach Stewart over the past couple of days in a very frank and candid manner."
There was the one thing upon which everyone could agree, even if they weren't made aware of what had happened. The dynamic that existed with Stewart and Holgorsen working together was uncomfortable. The suggestion Stewart wasn't making matters any better, whether true or not, had the players concerned.
"It relieves the tension a little bit, I guess," said senior cornerback Keith Tandy. "With Coach Stewart and Coach Holgorsen around, it was hard to figure out who to listen to and who was in charge. Now it's more clear cut and we can get back to work."
There was a confusion, if even unspoken, about who was in charge, even though that title was Stewart's.
"I had questions and a lot of my teammates were the same way - 'Is Coach Stew the head man or is Coach Holgorsen the head man?' " Tandy said. "It's good the distraction has been eliminated. When you're out there playing football, you want to focus on that and on making plays and not on worrying about which coach you're supposed to listen to.''
All of that is gone now and the Mountaineers are relieved they didn't have to deal with it very long.