Mountaineers React to Losing Bill Stewart - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mountaineers React to Losing Bill Stewart

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MORGANTOWN -

Reaction to Bill Stewart's passing flooded the World Wide Web Monday with players, coaches and everyday people who knew the man taking to their Twitter accounts to reflect.

Pat McAfee, a kicker who starred for the Mountaineers from 2005 to 2008, shared some of his own feelings and memories regarding his former head coach and special teams coach.

He remembered a specific instance in which he met with Stewart just after he had been named head coach and upon telling him how happy he was Stewart got the job, he was met with the following response:

"Patrick, no matter what you're doing with your life, never forget to stop and smell the flowers. It doesn't matter what you're doing or what your title is, if you stop smelling the flowers, you miss out on life. That's why I'll never change."

McAfee then proceeded to throw some of Stewart's more memorable – and comical – quotes back and forth with fellow former kicker Chris Glenn, their own way to fondly remember their coach.

Now a member of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, McAfee shared a personal message he received from Stewart when he had been arrested for some extracurricular activities.

"Stay the Course..Show Remorse..HOLD YOUR Head High…YOU're a CLASS GUY…Just hit a Bump in the Road..Love You Buddy STEW," a message McAfee said was sent on Oct. 22, 2010, the same day he was arrested.

That support in good times and bad, McAfee said, was what made Stewart so special to him.

Players like recently drafted Bruce Irvin and undrafted free agent Tyler Urban also shared their thoughts and memories of the coach.

Irvin, who was recruited to play for Stewart, said he had just spoken with his former coach, likely in celebration of his selection as the No. 15 overall pick by the Seattle Seahawks.

Urban had this to say about Stewart:

"I have never met somebody that absolutely loved the state of West Virginia and WVU as much as Coach Stew; I would not have been given the opportunity to play at WVU is it wasn't for him."

Former WVU receivers coach Lonnie Galloway was hired on Stewart's staff when he first took over as head coach, and he thanked Stewart for the opportunity in Morgantown.

"A great person and friend who gave me a chance is gone," Galloway said on his Twitter account. "Bill Stewart, I love you and you will be missed."

Anthony Leonard, a Mountaineer linebacker whose sophomore season was the Fiesta Bowl year, remembers Stewart for reasons that had very little to do with football.

"He pounded in our head to be great Mountaineers, but challenged to be better men in the community, church, school, etc.," Leonard wrote.

Pat White, who learned from Stewart in his years as the team's quarterback coach, wrote, "Take care of ole #BillStewart up there lord! #LeaveNoDoubt."

And a WVU legend, Owen Schmitt says, "Coach Stew changed my life he will be missed and remember[ed] always in my heart thanks for always believing in me I feel like I lost a father."

WVU also released a statement from former running back Steve Slaton, which read:

"A true Gentleman, friend, man, coach, teacher, husband etc, is how I view Coach Bill Stewart," Slaton stated. "I'm at a lost for words to express how much respect I have for this man, every conversation that I have had the chance to be involved with him he made me feel as an equal.  I am honored to have had him as a friend and coach. I know every player that has had the opportunity to be around him would say the same."

Others, like fans, WVU students and other West Virginians posted their thoughts, prayers and memories in the wake of news that has united all those who ever met Bill Stewart, regardless of the extent of their relationship with the man.

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