Former Pittsburgh Steelers assistant wide receivers coach Blaine Stewart left the team to take a post at West Virginia University as tight end’s coach. Stewart joined the Steelers as a coaching assistant in 2018 and held his current position as assistant wide receivers coach since 2021. Stewart along with Ray Sherman took over running the wide receivers in 2020 after the passing of former receiver’s coach Daryl Drake, so Stewart had a lot of familiarity with the Steelers’ wideout room. In an interview on the Mountaineer Insider Podcast, Stewart talked about his time in Pittsburgh and the relationship between Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin and West Virginia Head Coach Neal Brown.
“My experience was truly something that will be with me long beyond my time in Pittsburgh. I went there as a young guy, thankful for Coach Tomlin, entry-level just kinda get my foot in the door role,” Stewart said. “I learned a lot. I learned how things there were ran from the inside out, there was great perspective,” he added.
He also talked about how it wasn’t the first time he’s tried to leave for West Virginia, a place where he grew up as his late father, Bill, was West Virginia’s head coach from 2008-2010 after serving as an assistant there since 2000. One of the roles he held as an assistant was to coach tight ends, something his son will take over more than a decade later.
“This, me coming to Morgantown, wasn’t the first time I tried. I tried to get back in the past and kind of when there was an open job here, open job there I would reach out and just see if I would be a good fit. And Coach T and Coach Brown connected through that, probably three or fours years ago now,” he said. “I know they try to keep in touch every once in awhile, but I just think the two of them doing this at the high level, they can relate to each other.”
In the past, Brown has said that he was able to get an up-close at Stewart during OTAs. Stewart also has experience coaching at the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl, where he was the Quarterback Coach for the West team.
Stewart played college football at James Madison and then the University of Charleston, and with him not being named the Steelers’ wide receivers coach last offseason when the team brought in Frisman Jackson, a return to the college ranks was always likely. A fit at West Virginia makes perfect sense given his family history with the program and the proximity between West Virginia and Pittsburgh and the relationship Tomlin and Brown have now, which it sounds like is largely due to Stewart.
Stewart’s a coach on the rise, as he’s still a young guy and he brings five years of NFL experience to the college ranks. Now that he’s finally getting a chance to lead a position group on his own, he could begin to really make a name for himself in college circles and potentially even make a return to the NFL down the line if that’s the path he chooses to take. Brown is high on Stewart as a college coach, as he said early last month that Stewart would be a star at the collegiate level.
The Steelers will likely bring someone in to replace Stewart on their coaching staff, but there’s no indication to who that may be. Stewart’s familiarity with the players and the rest of the staff will be tough to replace, but it’s going to be fun to see him try to make a name for himself in the coaching world.