May 30, 2023

USA Today Sports Pictures

Big 12 executive vice president Ed Stewart is leaving the conference after 16 years to join USC as executive senior associate athletic director, the university announced Friday.

Stewart has been an integral part of the Big 12 executive team since joining the conference in 2006 and has overseen Big 12 football through multiple rounds of realignment and through multiple commissioners. In his role with the Big 12 front office, Stewart was the primary executive responsible for the administration of Big 12 football.

In his new role, Stewart is expected to oversee the football program at USC. He is partnered with first-year Trojans coach Lincoln Riley, who Stewart worked with for five years when Riley was at Oklahoma. According to ESPN, Stewart’s experience with retooling is a key part of his appeal for the role. USC is set to join the Big Ten for the 2024 football season.

Stewart’s departure comes just days after Brett Yormark took over full-time as Big 12 commissioner, so Yormark must now immediately take on one of the most important roles in his new office. Yormark replaced Bob Bowlsby, who retired and moved into an advisory role with the Big 12 after 10 years. The new commissioner is a longtime sports and entertainment executive but has no significant experience in college athletics.

Prior to his work in college administration, Stewart was a standout defensive lineman and team captain on Nebraska’s 1994 national championship team and earned All-America honors. He was later named to Nebraska’s All-Century football team.

He later worked at Michigan State while earning his master’s degree and joined Missouri as associate athletic director in 1999. Stewart joined the Big 12 while Missouri and Nebraska were still members and has overseen the league’s football product through major realignments in 2012 and now in 2021.

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