CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -Bill Stewart was promoted to head coach of West Virginia, losing the interim tag after the Mountaineers' 48-28 win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
Stewart was to be introduced Thursday at a morning news conference at the team's hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., athletic department spokesman Mike Fragale told The Associated Press.
Stewart had been the associate head coach under Rich Rodriguez, who left for Michigan last month. Stewart then became the interim coach.
Mountaineers quarterback Pat White, who ran for 150 yards and threw for 176 and two touchdowns in the Fiesta Bowl victory over the No. 3 Sooners, began stumping for Stewart on the field after the game.
``He deserves it,'' White said. ``A great man. A great coach. All the players respect him and all the players love him. You couldn't ask for a better man to lead us to victory today.''
Fullback Owen Schmitt, who scored on a 57-yard run, called Stewart the ``glue'' that kept the No. 11 Mountaineers together during a rocky month.
``We're a family,'' Schmitt said. ``That's why we prevailed.''
The 55-year-old Stewart earned $139,000 this year in his position that also included coaching tight ends and fullbacks, and being the special teams coordinator. Rodriguez signed a seven-year deal in August worth almost $2 million a year.
Stewart came to West Virginia as quarterbacks coach in January 2000 after two seasons as offensive coordinator in the Canadian Football League.
Don Nehlen, the retired Mountaineers coach who hired Stewart, said Thursday he was glad his former assistant had landed the job.
``He's just such a good person and the kids love him,'' Nehlen said. ``It's such a good fit with the program.''
A message left for Rodriguez early Thursday was not immediately returned.
Mary, Navy, Arizona State and Air Force.
Stewart was a captain for Fairmont State, which won the West Virginia Conference championship in 1974. He began his coaching career at Fairmont as a student assistant coach.
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