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Stewart enjoys long NFL coaching career

Stewart enjoys long NFL coaching career

George Stewart has been alongside many of the greats. Coaches like Chuck Noll, George Seifert, Dan Reeves and Sam Wyche and players like Jerry Rice, Rod Woodson, Tim Brown and Gary Anderson. Terrell Owens once told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Stewart was a “special coach,” and someone who “elevated him to a Pro Bowl receiver.”

Stewart, who is a native of Little Rock, Ark., came to Fayetteville after graduating from Park View High School in 1977. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Arkansas and played a part in returning the Razorbacks to national prominence under a legend of the college game, Lou Holtz.

Stewart, who played offensive guard from 1977-80, was an All-SWC honoree as a junior in 1979, and a team captain in 1980. During his playing career, he helped the squad earn a share of the 1979 Southwest Conference title and make appearances in four-straight bowl games.

He signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1981, but spent the season on injured reserve due to a knee injury.

Stewart got his start in coaching 1983, when he was hired by Coach Holtz as a graduate assistant working the with the Razorback tight ends. In 1984, Holtz was named the head coach at the University of Minnesota and he took Stewart with him as his offensive line coach. The experience gave Stewart his first look at the state where he would return over 20 years later. The Gophers had immediate success and went 7-5 in 1985 and won a bowl game for the first time since 1962.

Stewart’s final college coaching job was at Notre Dame, where he tutored the linebackers from 1986-88. The Irish capped the 1988 season with a 34-21 Fiesta Bowl victory over West Virginia to finish the year 12-0 and claim the national title.

Following the 1988 season, Noll gave Stewart his opportunity to jump into NFL coaching, as he served as special teams coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1989-91. It was there that Stewart helped Woodson earn a Pro Bowl berth as a kickoff returner. Following his time at Pittsburgh, Stewart went on to spend four years working with the special teams unit in Tampa Bay.

The opportunity to work Siefert came next for Stewart as he was a part of the San Francisco 49ers’ success from 1996-2002. During the span, the team advanced to the playoffs five times in seven seasons. While in San Francisco, Stewart coached special teams (1996-99) and the wide receiver (2000-02) group, which included Owens, J.J. Stokes and Tai Streets. Owens made Pro Bowl appearances in three straight seasons (2000-02). Before working with Stewart, Owens’ career-highs for season receptions was 67, a mark he shattered with 97, 93 and 100, respectively, in 2000, ’01 and ’02. Owens set his career-high in receiving yards with 1,451 in 2000 and touchdowns with 16 in 2001. He broke a 50-year-old NFL record when he caught 20 passes for 283 yards against the Bears in 2000 en route to his career-best day.

In 2003, Stewart joined Reeves as the wide receivers coach for the Atlanta Falcons. During his time in Atlanta, the team won the NFC South title in 2004 and advanced to the NFC Championship game against Philadelphia.

In 2007, Stewart returned to the state of Minnesota where he remains today as the wide receivers coach for the Vikings. The 2008 season was his 26th in a coaching career that began in Fayetteville, Ark.

Stewart’s career has been highlighted by a national championship, seven playoff appearances in the last 13 years, two NFC Championship games (San Francisco in 1997 and Atlanta in 2004), and three NFC Division titles in the past seven seasons – 2002 (San Francisco), 2004 (Atlanta), 2008 (Minnesota).

The University of Arkansas’ Athletic Department recognizes its heritage and the countless contributions made by African-American student-athletes in all 19 of its varsity sports. The Razorbacks are proud to celebrate this great tradition and recognize some of the inspiring pioneers, great student-athletes and outstanding role models that have worn a Razorback uniform as a part of Black History Month.

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