MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — In what will undoubtedly be one of the most challenging seasons in the history of West Virginia athletics, it’s time for Mountaineer Nation to unite as one and give Neal Brown and Josh Eilert the support they need.
Brown, entering his 5th season with the Mountaineers, has simply not met expectations during his first 4 seasons. West Virginia enters the season with on of the most difficult schedules in college football and Brown sits squarely on the hot seat as one of the nation’s most heavily criticized coaches.
Although Wren Baker has publicly given support to Brown and his coaching staff, it’s clear that Brown is on shaky ground and will be lucky to survive the entire 2023 season. The Mountaineers have almost no expectations from anyone and are predicted to finish 14th out of 14 teams in the Big 12 Conference.
With that said, Brown has an opportunity to surprise a lot of people with an experienced offensive line, a talented and deep set of running backs, a mobile quarterback for the first time since arriving in Morgantown and an improved defensive secondary.
I have been perhaps Brown’s harshest critics over the last four seasons. I have openly said that he was outmatched and unprepared in Power 5 football. The hope is that he has learned a lot in his first four seasons and that his team will finally make real strides in Year 5. With that said, it won’t be easy and there’s a very good chance that Brown won’t be the head coach next season, but while he’s here and at the start of a really important upcoming season, there is reason to be hopeful and there’s always a reason to support the Mountaineers on the field.
Bob Huggins has put the West Virginia basketball program in an absolutely terrible spot. After his arrest for DUI and his wife, June, announced his resignation for him, Huggins’ poor decision-making set off a devastating chain of events for West Virginia basketball.
Several key players, including Tre Mitchell, Joe Toussaint, Mohamed Wague, James Okonkwo and Jose Perez, all entered the transfer portal. These were important players who would have provided valuable contributions for the team for the upcoming season.
Eilert, who has been around the program for 15 years in a variety of positions, will take over a team in turmoil and it will be his first year ever as a head coach. From all accounts, Eilert is an outstanding coach and an even better person, and he’s certainly done an admirable job of attempting to keep the team he’s inherited together.
Eilert has the values and characteristics that West Virginians admire and respect: hard work, humble and undying loyalty, and that’s why the state should unite around him and support him in the same way that they have Bob Huggins over the last 16 seasons.
West Virginia loves a good underdog story and both Eilert and Brown have an opportunity to write one of the best ever for the Mountaineers this season.