External Forces May Force Neal Brown Out

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — Despite the West Virginia Mountaineers being 6-4 and bowl eligible, Neal Brown is back on the hot seat, according to CBS Sports. In their Hot Seat Rankings, Brown is listed as a 4/5 in terms of seat heat currently. A rating of 5 is “win or be fired.”  A 0 is “untouchable” and a 1 is “safe and secure.”

According to the article, “This is a complicated one. Brown definitely started the season on the hot seat and has definitely made progress. The Mountaineers (6-4) are bowl eligible for the first time since 2021 and could end up 8-4 with games remaining against Cincinnati and Baylor. But external forces may push the powers that be to make a move. Consider that native West Virginian Jimbo Fisher and former WVU coach Rich Rodriguez are sort of hovering out there if interested. Also watch Tony Gibson.”

A couple of things stand out here. These “external forces” who may push president Gordon Gee and director of athletics Wren Baker to fire Neal Brown are of course donors and boosters who have long grown tired of Brown’s mediocre on-field results. Brown, who is 28-29 in his 5th season at West Virginia, will likely finish this season 0-16 against teams that end the season ranked in the Top 25. In addition, the Mountaineers have not been ranked in 5 seasons. Brown’s poor performance over 5 seasons has led many donors to push for a change.

The donors who matter have been rumored to be interested in bringing back a West Virginia native to coach the team, and three outstanding and accomplished candidates would likely jump at a chance to come home to coach the Mountaineers. Jimbo Fisher, 58, was recently fired by Texas A&M, is said to have a huge amount of support in the state still. Rich Rodriguez, 60, has rebuilt the Jacksonville State program and has been a favorite of WVU alum and Arizona Diamondbacks’ owner (and billionaire) Ken Kendrick. Tony Gibson, like Fisher and Rodriguez, is very well-connected in the state and has a massive backing as well, and is seen as the least divisive of the three.

With three super-qualified and native West Virginia candidates available to come home, Neal Brown’s seat will go from hot to scorching if the Mountaineers lose to either Cincinnati or Baylor in the final two games of the regular season.