Monday, January 30, 2023

Where Does WVU Rank Among Party Schools?

(Photo by WVU) West Virginia University is a big time party school - that’s no secret. For students all across the nation, this is a big draw to the school. Barstool Sports, one of the biggest names in the sports entertainment industry, recently revealed their top 25 party school rankings. As expected, WVU was near the top. https://twitter.com/saturdaygameday/status/1618641726910115840?s=46&t=i9YrJPBLCNOY2KqvSkvgsg West Virginia University came in second, just behind of the University of Alabama. Though the Old Gold and Blue may be struggling on several levels right now, partying is not one of their shortcomings!  

Randy Mazey’s Son Commits to WVU

The West Virginia University Baseball team welcomed a familiar face to the 2025 recruiting class. Weston Mazey, son of Head Baseball Coach Randy Mazey, committed to the Mountaineers yesterday via Twitter. https://twitter.com/westonmazey/status/1617671001000783874?s=46&t=LrK9c9EopvooMt545FEEgA   Mazey, who is a product of Morgantown High School, goes by the nickname “Wammer.” In true Mountaineer fashion, “Wammer” Mazey has defied odds and found himself in a much better position following a terrible injury last year. He will fit in just great in Morgantown. LET’S GO!  

Governor Justice Tests Positive For COVID on the Same Day He Met With Bob...

(Photo by WVU Athletics)  West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has once again tested positive for COVID-19, per a report by Jeff Jenkins of MetroNews. This news came immediately following the Governor’s meeting with WVU Men’s Basketball Coach Bob Huggins and Athletic Director Wren Baker. https://twitter.com/wvgovernor/status/1615420030946054182?s=46&t=miypB5UzkycO_eRjuhWc-A   During the congratulatory visit for Bob Huggins’ Hall of Fame induction, Justice was clearly exposed to both Huggins and Baker without a mask on. This could pose to be a problem considering the Mountaineers have a clash with 14th-ranked TCU. There have been no updates on either Huggins or Baker, but we should expect to hear something prior to tonight’s 6 p.m. tip-off. The matchup between the Mountaineers and Horned Frogs will broadcast on ESPN+. Stay tuned to The Voice of Motown for updates.

POLL RESULTS: Neal Brown and Bob Huggins Have Very Low Approval Ratings Among WVU...

Morgantown, West Virginia - West Virginia football and basketball, the two most important programs for university, have both struggled severely over the past 5 years and the coaches of both teams have come under scrutiny lately for their teams' performances. The Voice of Morgantown conducted approval ratings polls for Neal Brown and Bob Huggins on social media, and the results were quite revealing. The question was simply, "Do you approve of the job that Neal Brown/Bob Huggins is doing as the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers?" At the time of this article being published, football head coach Neal Brown has an approval rating of 18.5%. That means that 81.5% of the participants polled do not approve of Brown as the head coach of the team. https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1615376996158029824?s=20&t=oMOGk0HKFvMA5B_AmySuFw Bob Huggins, a Hall of Fame coach and one of the winningest coaches in the history of college basketball, would have likely had close to a 99% approval rating a few years ago. Now, many fans of the Mountaineers believe that Huggins has not performed up to par lately. West Virginia is 28-48 over the last 5 years in the Big 12 Conference and the Mountaineers have lost 5 consecutive games to start the season 0-5 in conference play. At the time that this was published, Huggins currently has a 41.5% approval rating, meaning that 58.5% of the people polled disapprove of Huggins' performance as the head coach of the Mountaineers. https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1615392696918474758?s=20&t=_py8Bwc9e3GNckbrH736Cw To compare, President Joe Biden currently has an approval rating of 45% of all Americans polled by Reuters in the most recent polling performed on January 11.

Sunday Morning Editorial: The Dark Days of West Virginia Sports

Morgantown, West Virginia - At no point in the history of West Virginia athletics has the football and basketball programs collectively been in such bad shape at the same time. The numbers don't lie and unfortunately West Virginia has been the worst program in the Big 12 Conference over the last 5 years. It's never been easy to be a West Virginia fan. There has been plenty of heartache and frustration over the years, but at this point we're approaching complete, widespread apathy. In football, West Virginia is 14-21 in conference play since Neal Brown has been the head coach of the Mountaineers. Only Texas Tech (13-23) and Kansas (5-30) have been worse. Overall, Brown is 22-25, West Virginia has not been in the Top 25 since 2018, there have been zero program-defining wins, no progress on the field, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel for the Mountaineers. West Virginia was 5-7 last season. While the fanbase will be told to trust the people in charge, it's difficult to see any reason for hope in 2023. West Virginia has lost numerous quality, proven players to the transfer portal and graduation and have gained mostly players who have performed well at the Group of 5 level. Adding players from Kent State, Middle Tennessee State, Towson, etc., will never be adequate enough to improve a failing Power 5 team like the Mountaineers. Yes, West Virginia also added a tight end from LSU (Kole Taylor - 5 catches, 55 yards last season), a wide receiver from NC State (25 receptions, 406 yards, 2 touchdowns in 2022) and a solid defensive lineman from Penn State (Fatorma Mulbah - no stats in 2022), but no one Neal Brown and his staff have added this offseason can come close to replacing players like Bryce Ford-Wheaton, Charles Woods, Kaden Prather, Jordan Jefferson, Mumu Bin-Wahad, JT Daniels, among many others. So the question begging to be asked is, if West Virginia was bad last year, how are they going to be better next season by downgrading their talent? A few of the new players may certainly be quality additions who could help the team, but it's simply impossible to argue that the Mountaineers have upgraded in any way heading into 2023. With a legendary, Hall of Fame head coach, you'd expect the basketball program to be in better shape, but that simply isn't the case. Over the past 5 years, West Virginia is 28-48 in Big 12 Conference play, which is 9th out of 10 teams, ahead of only Iowa State (25-51). The Mountaineers are 0-5 this season in conference play and have lost five consecutive games. West Virginia is currently 10-7 overall and although they can still be found on NCAA Tournament projections, their upcoming schedule suggests that it's going to be difficult to find another win for a really long time. West Virginia plays #17 TCU on Wednesday night, then #10 Texas, at Texas Tech, against #21 Auburn and then on the road at #17 TCU again. The Mountaineers could potentially win one or two of those games, but the team needs at least nine more wins this season to get to nineteen wins and only have fourteen games remaining. While Bob Huggins has promised that the Mountaineers are going to be better and that they are going to turn this season around, winning 9 out of 14 games to end the season seems like an impossibility at this point. Following this season, the Mountaineers lose starters Jimmy Bell, Jr., Emmitt Matthews, Jr., Kedrian Johnson and Erik Stevenson, as well as talented point guard Joe Toussaint off the bench, and West Virginia simply does not have much to get excited about left on the 2023-2024 roster. In addition, West Virginia currently has no recruits committed to play for the team and so Huggins - if he continues to coach the team next season - will once again have to rely on the transfer portal. Huggins and staff were successful in the portal this last year, but most of the players available will be one-and-done players and the whole cycle will start all over again next year. With that all said, it's hard to see any reason to be hopeful or positive about the football or basketball programs for the foreseeable future. It's truly the Dark Days of West Virginia Sports and although fans of the Mountaineers are some of the most loyal, passionate in the entire country, the product on the field and court has given West Virginia fans nothing to cheer about. https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1614425924807655428?s=20&t=b9hGnzIwJITBPJeqG6_-1Q

Neal Brown on the Verge of Making Another Terrible Decision

Cover Photo: Ben Queen/USA Today Morgantown, West Virginia - Following the 2021-2022 season, Neal Brown decided that it was finally time to hire a legitimate offensive coordinator to call plays for the Mountaineers by hiring Graham Harrell, who was the offensive coordinator at USC prior to coming to Morgantown. "Since the end of the season, I have spent time reflecting on the program, and take responsibility, knowing we have to be better offensively,” Brown said after West Virginia finished 6-7. “I’ve been serving in a dual role as the offensive coordinator and head coach, and we need to bring in another voice for the offense." The Mountaineers finished 5-7 last season, Harrell stayed only one season before leaving for the same job at Purdue, and now West Virginia has an opening at offensive coordinator once again. Ultimately, the only person Neal Brown really trusts is...well, Neal Brown.   Brown has had success calling plays in the past during his time as an offensive coordinator at Texas Tech, Kentucky and Troy, but his offense has been far too vanilla and predictable at West Virginia. Brown has the opportunity to bring in a young, talented offensive coordinator now to run the offense, but the reality is that Brown is too stubborn, too obstinate to make a decision that will benefit the program. He's far more concerned about benefitting himself to see what everyone else following the Mountaineers clearly sees; he's in over his head as a head coach and certainly doesn't need the added responsibility of calling plays as well. On top of all that, he's also just not very good at calling plays. Brown is neither creative nor innovative enough to have anything but a very average, vanilla, ordinary offense that will never be successful in the Big 12 Conference. His poor on-the-field decision-making and lack of guts on big calls makes him completely out-matched in every way against the far more talented coaches in the conference. While it's unlikely that any respectable offensive coordinator would choose to work for Neal Brown right now considering Brown is almost certainly facing termination after next season, anyone with any play-calling experience would be better than Neal Brown with one of his lackeys like Sean Reagan or Matt Moore as his co-offensive coordinator happening. Unfortunately, it appears that this is what is going to happen. Brown will likely promote Chad Scott (current running backs coach), Sean Reagan (tight ends) or Matt Moore (offensive line) to "offensive coordinator" while he ultimately calls the plays behind the scenes. Neal Brown's ego and stubborn nature continues to get in the way of progress at West Virginia. https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1612841075776913410?s=20&t=Qd12kaK7n5HEDV_ZccjD6g

Get To Know the Staff – Logan Bennett (Intern)

What's Your Name? Logan Bennett How Old Are You? 20 years old Single or Married? Very single Best Dating Advice to Your Younger Self? Just because they're hot doesn't mean you can ignore the red flags. Pet Peeve? People who chew with their mouth open. Or if they slurp their drink. Favorite Social Media App? TikTok (unfortunately) Least Favorite Social Media App? Facebook Favorite Food? My grandma's meatloaf Favorite Movie? O Brother, Where Art Thou? Favorite Song? "A Song For You" by Leon Russell Favorite Book? "Can't Hurt Me" by David Goggins. Absolutely changed my life How Long Have You Been a WVU Fan? I can't remember a time when I wasn't a WVU fan, so I guess 20 years. Favorite Mountaineer Memory? Us destroying Clemson at the Orange Bowl. Need I say more? All-Time Favorite WVU Player? Pat White Worst WVU Memory? This is going to be an absolute hot take. Tavon's night vs Oklahoma is one of the best games of all time. He proved that he is an absolute legend and one of the best players in Mountaineer history. But that loss still haunts me to this day. I can't go a day without thinking of it. Just to know we were so close, yet so far. Do You Trust The Climb? I will always Trust The Climb, but it sure is hard sometimes. Thought on Bob Huggins? We can't ignore his numerous victories, but sometimes he just needs to sit on his stool and keep his mouth shut. Last Words For The People? "Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever." - Shane Falco

Get to Know the Staff – Clark Johnson (Senior Football Writer)

What’s Your Name? Clark Johnson How Old Are You? 24-Years Old Where Are You From? Hinton, West Virginia  Single or Married? Single Best Dating Advice For Your Younger Self? Don’t  Pet Peeve? Favortism. Nothing will turn me against a place or person faster. Favorite Social Media App? The only correct answer is Twitter. Least Favorite Social Media App? Either Snapchat or Instagram. I hate the vanity. Favorite Food? The least hot flavor of wings you got. Favorite Movie? Mrs. Doubtfire. Robin Williams was a legend. Favorite Song? Purple Rain by Prince. He’s the best to ever do it & if you disagree, you’re wrong. Favorite Book? Tales From the West Virginia Sideline by Don Nehlen. How Long Have You Been a WVU Fan? 15 years. My first game was on November 8, 2007. We beat Louisville 38-31. Favorite Mountaineer Memory? My best friend and I got Will Grier to stop during a Mantrip and take a selfie with us. That was pretty special. All-Time Favorite WVU Player? Geno Smith was a special player to me. He was the first Mountaineer I ever met. Worst WVU Memory? Losing to Oklahoma State in 2018, 45-41. It cost us a Big 12 Championship spot. Worst part about it was an ice storm came through and knocked our power out, so we bought gas for the generator just so we could watch the game. It was all-around miserable. Do You Trust the Climb? Neal Brown isn’t a bad coach, but ask me this in September. Thoughts on Bob Huggins? Honestly, I’m not a basketball guy. I don’t care about the game. I’ll root for the team, but I’m not really qualified to have an opinion on Huggins. Last Words for the People? Some of the best advice I could ever give - if something is making you miserable, never be afraid to walk away. Jobs, relationships, just anything. You only get one trip on this rock, and it shouldn’t be spent wishing your circumstances were different. Make the change necessary. Do it for your mental health. Put you first. It’s okay to be selfish on occasion.  

Former Pitt Player Collapses on Monday Night Football

Morgantown, West Virginia - Moments ago, former Pitt Panthers star and current Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and passed out on the field following a tackle in tonight's Buffalo Bills versus Cincinnati Bengals game on Monday Night Football. Hamlin, 24, received CPR on the field for several minutes and was taken away in an ambulance. It's unclear about the extent of what happened, but early reports suggests that Hamlin went into cardiac arrest. The game, which was is in the first quarter with the Bengals winning 7-3, is temporarily suspended and may be cancelled. https://twitter.com/rawsalerts/status/1610098691746189316?s=20&t=fI3grGru63khr8ST6oBfIg

The Stain of Shane

Morgantown, West Virginia - Shane Lyons is gone from Morgantown. He's now 733 miles away in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in his cushy new (old?) job as the Executive Deputy Director of Athletics at the University of Alabama. But the dark cloud that he created will linger over Morgantown, West Virginia for years to come. Lyons' decision to give Neal Brown a contract extension and raise after an 11-11 start to his career with the Mountaineers will go down as perhaps the worst decision in West Virginia University history. Actually, not perhaps, it will go down as the worst decision ever.   Lyons attempted to pass the blame following his dismissal, saying it "wasn't just a Shane Lyons' decision", but ultimately this decision fell on Lyons and that's why he is no longer employed by West Virginia University. Lyons claimed that Brown's name was mentioned as a possible head coach replacement at Auburn and South Carolina, but there is simply no way that prominent SEC programs would even give an 11-11 Neal Brown any real consideration. The notion that Neal Brown would be named the next head coach at Auburn or South Carolina is naive and borderline idiotic. Lyons taking the rumors of Brown being a serious candidate was his first mistake. The second mistake was acting in a way that took these rumors seriously by locking Neal Brown down with a massive new deal that Brown simply did not earn or deserve. If Brown was successful, the deal could have made some sense, but the fact that Brown went on to finish 6-7 in 2021 and 5-7 in 2022 made it a disaster.  Not only did it make Neal Brown untouchable contractually, it also paved the way for more mediocrity for the Mountaineers in the future. Neal Brown has proven that he is in over his head and not a Power 5 level head coach. However, because of his contract, West Virginia University can't easily fire him. If Brown were to be fired today, the university would owe him approximately $16.5 million. West Virginia would also owe his entire coaching staff buyouts and this would raise the total to over $20 million. Brown would be owed 85% of his contract if he's fired between 2024 and 2026, when his deal is finally up. With that said, West Virginia is going to have to pay Neal Brown whether they like it or not. Lyons' insistence on Brown being the right man for the job, even after his dismissal, is startling. In his interview after being fired, Lyons said the following: "People don’t see behind the scenes which, as an Athletic Director, you do. Last week proved a point that he had not lost his team. You’re in the locker room. You’re around the student athletes. They played very, very hard at a tough place to play,” Lyons said. “Is it where we need to be? The answer is no. We were looking for seven or eight wins. Did they meet expectations? No. At the same time, a couple plays go our way and we’re sitting at seven wins and we’re not having this conversation. Look at the first couple of years and what Neal Brown took over and the players he had and throw COVID in there, I look at this as Year Two for Neal Brown.” In Lyons' own words, he gave Neal Brown a contract extension and a raise before he even really started, which makes his decision even more head-scratching and unbelievable. Although Shane Lyons is gone, the stain of Shane Lyons at West Virginia will live on for years and years to come.

Putting Full Faith in Wren Baker

Cover Photo: WVU Athletics Morgantown, West Virginia - While West Virginians have every right to be skeptical and disgruntled about the decisions made over the past several years by the people in charge of the athletic department at West Virginia University, there is also reason to be very hopeful and optimistic now that Wren Baker is in charge. Baker, West Virginia's new director of athletics, is a fresh face with a brand new perspective, which was desperately needed in Morgantown. Yes, Shane Lyons gave Neal Brown a ridiculous contract extension. Yes, West Virginia's two most important sports - football and basketball - have tremendously underperformed over the last couple of years. Yes, there are a lot of things that could and should have been done to make improvements and changes that have been ignored. But none of what's wrong at West Virginia University has anything to do with Wren Baker. Baker is in the unenviable position of fixing a lot of things that the previous administration got the university into. In other words, Wren Baker has not yet done anything to lose our trust and should have our full faith moving forward. Although it would be easy to give up on the football program after four years of mediocrity and disappointment, Baker should - and likely does - have a plan to turn the situation around, whether that means giving Neal Brown the appropriate support to succeed or having the guts to move on from Brown if/when he fails next season. Wren Baker appears energetic and, unlike his predecessor, willing to make unbiased decisions based on what is best for West Virginia University. Perhaps most important about Baker's hiring is that he was an outsider, unencumbered by the ugly, offensive good old boy culture that has damaged West Virginia athletics for so long. Wren Baker has a tremendous power and responsibility to fix what's so important to West Virginia fans all around the country, and although the previous administration let us down over and over and over again, Baker gives us hope that change is truly on the way.

Outlet Awards Pat McAfee Prestigious Honor

(Photo by The Pat McAfee Show) Former WVU kicker/punter Pat McAfee is making a name for himself. The 35-year old is quickly becoming one of the most recognizable names in all of sports media. He’s funny, he’s energetic, and he’s not afraid to do anything for a laugh. With his hard work and dedication to his craft has earned him a plethora of praise across the country. McAfee, who is now a part of ESPN’s College Gameday, has been named The Athletic’s Sports Media Person of the Year. https://twitter.com/theathletic/status/1603831185024614419?s=46&t=vBGcwIHwDDhCdRnzGUK_Rw For all the negativity and bickering around media in general, McAfee certainly is a breath of fresh air to the game that often tries to outdo each other.

Former Players Blast Neal Brown

Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers continue to lose players to the transfer portal - today, Jasir Cox and star wide receiver Kaden Prather - and former players are now speaking out against head coach Neal Brown. Former West Virginia wide receiver T.J. Simmons, who played for the Mountaineers from 2018-2020, had 86 receptions, 1,197 yards and 9 touchdowns during his collegiate career. Following the departure of Prather from the team, Simmons had the following to say: "WVU really sacrificing the whole team for one man." His former teammate, Jeffery Pooler, added, "Thought it was obvious when we did this 2 seasons ago." Both played for Neal Brown and although they didn't name him personally, it is quite clear who they are referring to. Remember, one of the reasons that West Virginia remained committed to Brown in 2023 was to "keep the team together." However, that certainly does not look like it's happening with several players transferring. https://twitter.com/a_scouts_dream/status/1602359531010506752?s=46&t=O4K7aE8uiSJZ5zN9HsAESg

Star Wide Receiver Enters the Transfer Portal

Morgantown, West Virginia - Moments ago, star wide receiver for the West Virginia Mountaineers Kaden Prather announced that he’s leaving the team and entering the transfer portal. Prather, a talented sophomore receiver who had 52 receptions, 501 yards and 3 touchdowns this past season, said the following on social media: "I would like to thank the great state of West Virginia and all Mountaineer fans for their hospitality over the years. You are the most loyal fans a player could ever hope for and I have enjoyed playing for you. With that being said, I will be doing what's best for me and entering the transfer portal. Please respect my decision." Huge loss for the Mountaineers! https://twitter.com/kaden3timesss/status/1602341226962984964?s=46&t=DIhiO7KfuYkKOGpRuZjXRQ

West Virginia Basketball Makes Its First Top 25 of the Season

Cover Photo: WVU Athletics Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers moved to 8-2 this season with an impressive 81-70 victory over the UAB Blazers (7-2) on Saturday and now the Mountaineers are starting to get some respect nationally! In the latest CBS Sports College Basketball Rankings, the Mountaineers actually made the Top 25! West Virginia came in ranked at #25 this week. CBS Sports had the following to say about West Virginia's last game: "Emmitt Matthews finished with 16 points and nine rebounds in Saturday's 81-70 win over UAB. The Mountaineers' next game is Dec. 18 against Buffalo." West Virginia has not been ranked in the Top 25 for a couple of years so getting some national recognition, even this early in the season, is huge for the program!  

Next Game: 1/31 at TCU 9:00pm on ESPNU

X