Steelers to Lose Assistant Coach to Local College Position: Report

Mike Tomlin

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will reportedly see one of his assistants leave for a college football opportunity.

It may not be Matt Canada, but the Pittsburgh Steelers will have at least one offensive coaching change this offseason.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac reported on January 18 that Steelers assistant wide receivers coach Blaine Stewart is set to leave the organization to join West Virginia.

Stewart played wide receiver at James Madison and Charleston from 2013-17. But he’s from Morgantown and is the son of former West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart.

As head coach of the Mountaineers, Bill Stewart led West Virginia to three 9-4 seasons from 2008-10.

Steelers Losing Assistant Coach to West Virginia

Stewart joined the Steelers coaching staff as a coaching assistant the season after he ended his college career at Charleston,

In his first two NFL seasons as a coach, Stewart “handled the daily operations for the offense and special teams units,” according to

Stewart rose to wide receivers assistant coach under Ike Hilliard, who the Steelers hired as their wide receivers coach at the same time — before the 2020 season. The Steelers replaced Hilliard with Frisman Jackson prior to the 2022 season, but Stewart remained in his assistant role.

The Steelers have experienced a long, successful run at drafting and developing wide receivers. That continued with Stewart as an assistant wide receivers coach from 2020-22.

During Stewart’s first season as assistant wide receivers coach, Chase Claypool set an NFL-rookie record with 4 touchdowns in the same game. He finished his rookie season with 62 receptions, 873 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns.

George Pickens also had a successful rookie season under Stewart’s tutelage. In 2022, Pickens posted 52 catches for 801 yards, averaging 15.4 yards per reception, and 4 touchdowns.

Stewart was also part of a coaching staff that’s helped Diontae Johnson record three consecutive seasons of at least 85 catches and 880 receiving yards.

Dulac did not specify what role Stewart would fill at West Virginia.

More Changes Coming to Steelers Coaching Staff?

It’s no secret Stewart’s departure is not the one Steelers fans want. What Steelers Nation really wants is to see offensive coordinator Matt Canada not back for the 2023 season.

But Dulac also reported on January 18 that Canada is expected to return for his third and final year of his contract.

“The Steelers have no plans to replace offensive coordinator Matt Canada and he is expected to return to Mike Tomlin’s coaching staff in 2023, sources have told the Post-Gazette,” wrote Dulac.

“Despite a public outcry to fire him and numerous rumors about his coaching status, Canada will return for his third season as offensive coordinator — something, apparently, that was never really in doubt after the offense continued to show signs of improvement late in the season.”

The next question is what the offensive coaching staff becomes around Canada. Dulac added that “it is not known if Canada” will have to change his offensive philosophy or involve more offensive assistants in the game plan next season.

The Steelers have plenty of experienced coaches on staff who could be more influential in offensive game plans next fall. In addition to Jackson, quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan, offensive line coach Pat Meyer, and tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts all have more than 10 years of coaching experience.

The offseason is also just underway, so there could be more changes to the Steelers coaching staff at the position coach level.

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