Audio: Stewart Asked Writer To Smear Holgorsen

The simmering controversy over the source of allegedly inaccurate, recent media reports detailing sordid behavior by West Virginia coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen boiled over early Tuesday morning on Chris Mueller’s overnight radio show on KDKA-FM in Pittsburgh.

(Dunlap (r) guested on Chris Mueller’s 93.7 The Fan show in Pittsburgh)

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE reporter Colin Dunlap, who served as West Virginia football beat reporter for the Post-Gazette last season, told Mueller that Stewart called him on December 18, 2010, three days after Holgorsen was hired as Stewart’s future replacement, to request that Dunlap “dig up dirt” on Holgorsen.

The following are excerpts from Dunlap’s remarks early Tuesday morning (June 7, 2011) on KDKA-FM about the phone call between the two:

“It was actually my birthday, December 18, it was the day he (Stewart) was going to the bowl game because I distinctly remember there was a coaches convention in Pittsburgh with high school coaches. He was (then) flying from Pittsburgh down to Orlando to the bowl game for pre-prep work … “

” … He (Stewart) tried to flame-throw the guy (Holgorsen) in December by calling me and at least one other reporter because the reporter and I discussed it. He said, ‘can you get the word ’scumbag’ tattooed on the front of the sports page?’

“‘(Stewart said) you need to dig up this dirt. You need to get it out on this guy.’ And I said, ‘hey man, I’m not a part of some witch hunt.’”

“… If you want to go look at my cell phone records you can, I don’t need to hide from it. The conversation happened the day he (Stewart) was driving to the airport from the high school coaches convention in Pittsburgh. He was on his way to Orlando. (WVU assistant coach) Dave McMichael was in the car with him. The conversation happened.”

In recent days, speculation that Stewart’s wife or the coach himself was the source of a damaging, and allegedly inaccurate portrayal of Holgorsen written by HUNTINGTON HERALD-DISPATCH reporter Chuck Landon on May 28 has continued to grow.

In the piece, Landon reported:

Holgorsen has reportedly been involved in at least three and, perhaps, as many as six alcohol-related incidents in the last six months, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

That’s right, six.

The first five were hushed up, but the sixth incident at Mardi Gras Casino in Cross Lanes on May 18 has blown the cover off Holgorsen’s embarrassing antics. Nitro police were called to the casino at about 3:20 a.m. on May 18 to remove an apparently intoxicated customer who didn’t want to leave. Holgorsen was asked to step outside, sit on a bench and await a taxi. No charges were filed.

Four days after Landon’s report, and a previous hit piece in the WHEELING (WV) NEWS-REGISTER titled, “Holgorsen embarrasses Entire State“, the CHARLESTON (WV) DAILY MAIL reported that WVU officials claimed both hit pieces were rife with “blatant inaccuracies.”

Monday Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail reported:

West Virginia University is searching for anonymous contributors to newspaper stories it says contain “blatant inaccuracies” about the football team’s head coach-in-waiting and offensive coordinator, Dana Holgorsen.

The timing of WVU’s internal inquiry, which is a normal procedure in response to such incidents, coincides with a pause in the concluding phase of Coach Bill Stewart’s separation agreement with the university.

Two sources said the contract has been awaiting signatures for weeks but has been tabled as the athletic department determines who has and has not participated in fabricating stories about Holgorsen and compromising the coaching transition.

Might Dunlap’s remarkable revelation of Stewart’s personal request that he “get the word ’scumbag’ tattooed on the front of the sports page” in a seeming desperate bid to smear Holgorsen soon transform that “pause” into “cause“?

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