By July 23, 2015 Read More →

History teacher writes book about late WVU coach

Parkersburg News and Sentinel photo by Paul LaPann From left, Karen Stewart and Susan R. Jones at a book signing for “Bill Stewart: In His Own Words” at the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library.

Parkersburg News and Sentinel photo by Paul LaPann
From left, Karen Stewart and Susan R. Jones at a book signing for “Bill Stewart: In His Own Words” at the Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library.

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Susan R. Jones has written a book about former West Virginia University football coach Bill Stewart using his own words.

“Bill Stewart: In His Own Words” is a story written mostly from media stories and post-game interviews Stewart gave as the Mountaineer coach.

The book reads as an autobiography, but Stewart died in 2012 at the age of 59 before he could write his own book.

Jones, a history teacher at John Marshall High School in Glen Dale, W.Va., started the project as a gift to the Stewart family. The biography was self-published in November and Jones signed copies Saturday afternoon at the Parkersburg-Wood County Public Library.

Accompanying Jones at the book signing was Karen Stewart, Bill’s widow.

“The book took my breath away. It was like Bill telling the story,” Karen said at the book signing.

“He would be so proud. She (Susan) did an excellent job,” Karen said.

Karen and Bill’s brother, Ted, looked over what Jones had written and made “minimal changes.” Karen provided family photos and suggestions for the book.

Jones had never met the Stewarts before she began her project.

“Bill Stewart was celebrated as a hometown hero in the upper Ohio Valley,” Jones said of the New Martinsville native. “People said I wish he (Stewart) had written a book.”

Bill had told Karen that someday he may write a book, she said.

Jones reached out to Karen after Bill’s death. Describing herself as a fan of Bill Stewart and the Mountaineers, Jones gathered news items and information from press conferences involving “Coach Stew.” Jones was impressed by Stewart’s love for his wife, football and West Virginia.

“He liked to talk about his roots,” Jones said

Karen thought the book was a good idea. It was something that Bill’s grandchildren could read someday.

Most of the 297-page book is in Stewart’s words and includes 58 photographs.

It includes chapters on growing up in New Martinsville, on faith and family, the early years of coaching, the Fiesta Bowl, becoming head coach at WVU, and on 2011 and the future.

The book’s foreword was written by WVU play-by-play announcer Tony Caridi and afterwords by John Antonik, director of digital media at WVU. Caridi’s eulogy at Stewart’s funeral is in the book

Statements by Don Nehlen, Hoppy Kercheval and others on Stewart’s passing are in the book.

Jones obtained, from the WVU archives, interviews that Stewart had given as the football coach. Woven among Stewart’s words are factual information on scores, events and dates about football games and personal information from the family.

Buck and Hazel Stewart of Elizabeth were at Saturday’s book signing. Buck Stewart, a longtime high school football coach, is Bill Stewart’s cousin.

He described the Stewarts as a close family that enjoyed music and sports. Buck said it was nice to read about Bill Stewart’s life and accomplishments in Jones’ book.

“Bill loved talking to people,” Buck said. “He never met a stranger.”

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