Bill Stewart gets a lot of grief for the sometimes meandering manner of his press conferences. Sometimes we get confused trying to follow along and sort sense from nonsense. Quite often, there’s a good point lost in translation.
Fortunately, there’s value in Decoding Bill Stewart. This week, WVU’s head coach is asked about the meaning behind another quizzical comment and Stewart knocks his explanation for “Match the mountains” out of the park.
From Sunday’s postgame press conference
“Let me tell you one last thing, and you Louisville folks, maybe you’ll get the meaning. Here’s what I asked the football team to do. Last night, I told them to match the mountains. That’s all I wanted them to do. Match the mountains. The pageantry, the majesty of West Virginia. Match the mountains.
“We’re very, very blessed. I asked them, I said, ‘Just think about three things with me. Where you are, who you are and where you’re going by being a Mountaineer. That’s all I want you to do. Where you are in life, who you are in life, where you’re going in life.’ And by doing that, if you match the mountains, the pageantry we have – I didn’t invent that. I saw that when I was flying out and I said, ‘Look at these beautiful mountains.’
“That may not mean much to some. It means a lot to this kid right here. Take care and God bless.”
Well, that led to another round of “What the heck was that?” reaction that has followed other notable soundbytes, like the original Quizzical Comment — this remains my personal favorite, not because it introduced Oll Stewart, but because it made pretty good sense — as well as the 2009 Rutgers postgame and so many others the came before last week’s To Kill a Lion speech.
“Well, it’s — we love the splendor and majesty of these mountains. And all I told the guys was, ‘You know, when you go on the road, you’ve got to take the splendor and the majesty of the state with you.’ That’s all I meant.
“You know, there’s something special about West Virginia. I’m born here, reared here, loved it. I’m very, very privileged to have been born a West Virginian and have grown as a young man as a West Virginian and to me, it’s emotional.
“We went into Louisville, Big East games are very, very hard to win, home or away, most importantly away. And as we were flying out, I just happened to cast my eyes over and I looked at the mountains and I thought, ‘Wow, look at the beauty, look at the splendor, look at the foliage,’ and, I just, I don’t know, it came to me and I said, ‘Man, I just want you to match it. Just the spirit, the splendor, the majesty of the mountains.’
“I thought it’d be something to build on and the guys kind of bought into it and that’s how we had to play at Louisville. It was a really, really tough outing, as you know.”
And breathe. No footnotes. You think about that.