West Virginia is in negotiations to buy out embattled coach Bill Stewart, The Sporting News reported Thursday night, citing a source.
Coach-in-waiting/offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen would be elevated to head coach. Asked to confirm the report, Mountaineers AD Oliver Luck replied via text, "I can't comment."
The coaching staff had recently been investigated by Luck, who was trying to determine the source of what were termed "leaks" disparaging Holgorsen in recent newspapers accounts. The school said there were "blatant inaccuracies" in a report that Holgorsen had been involved in three to six alcohol-related incidents in the past few months.
A former Pittsburgh newspaper reporter said this week during a radio interview that Stewart urged him to "dig up dirt" on Holgorsen.
Had Stewart been fired after last season, the school would have owed him $2.5 million. Instead, the school hired Holgorsen from Oklahoma State, made him the coach-in-waiting and adjusted Stewart's contract. This would have been Stewart's final season as head coach. Holgorsen was to take over in 2012.
Stewart, 59, was the toast of Morgantown 3½ years ago when he beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. That night he was elevated to head coach following Rich Rodriguez's departure for Michigan. Stewart has won 28 games -- nine in each of the past three seasons, plus the Fiesta Bowl.
He is currently part of an NCAA infractions case against West Virginia charged with "failure to monitor."