Houston Cougar defensive coordinator Brian Stewart will make no bones about it - his current job title is not his dream job.
He made that clear the day he was hired, when he said
I would like to be a head coach some day, so being a successful coordinator in a successful program in a large city like Houston will put me in line to do so.
He reinforced it recently, when he was chosen to attend an NCAA coaching academy known as the Champion Forum. Said Stewart,
This program is a great opportunity for me to get a better understanding of the qualities expected from a college head coach...through this forum, I will get a clear picture of how to organize and express my leadership philosophies.
Okay, so Houston is a stepping-stone job for Stewart. It's never fun to see anyone on your coaching staff openly lobbying for a job elsewhere. But is it necessarily a bad thing in this case? I'm going to say no.
Yes, stability among the coaching staff would absolutely be a good thing. But it's not always possible at every coaching position. Keeping Kevin Sumlin is infinitely more important than it is to keep the same coordinators year in and year out. Coordinators at non-traditional powers just don't stay around if they're having any level of success. We already figured that out with Dana Holgorsen. One day, he's directing an offense that's putting up record numbers for the Cougars, suddenly you look up and he's a head coach in the Big East.
And that's exactly why I would be thrilled if you told me Brian Stewart was leaving UH to take a head coaching job somewhere in a year or two. The coordinators who get hired away are the ones who have success. Just imagine for a second if Stewart actually were to helm a defense that was so good, it got him hired away. Now imagine how good a team with that defense, and a Houston offense would be. (For reference, the Coogs were a top-15 offense last year, even with all the uncertainty at the QB position.)
By bluntly stating that he expects to use Houston as a springboard to a head coaching job, Stewart is opening himself to the expectation that he'll put a defense on the field that is not just mediocre (something Cougar fans would probably readily accept at this juncture), but is actually a strength. Based on what we've seen from this defense in recent years, including what we saw in 2010 under Stewart, I'd say that sounds like a pipe dream. But you can't fault a guy for having high expectations.
If Stewart can achieve his goals, and then takes a head coaching job somewhere else, good for him. The Cougars will win a ton of games, and be able to attract another defense coordinator who won't have such a huge hill to climb when he takes over.