Morgantown, West Virginia – Prior to West Virginia’s humiliating 48-10 loss at Texas Tech, it was generally accepted within the athletic department that Neal Brown would be the head coach of the Mountaineers for the remainder of this season and the 2023-2024 season.
According to multiple sources close to the situation, Shane Lyons desperately does not want to fire Neal Brown and neither does West Virginia University president E. Gordon Gee. Brown has their continuous support. Firing Brown would be a huge black eye for Lyons in particular, who gave Brown an extension, raise and massive contract buyout after the 2020 season.
If Lyons fires Brown, he’s essentially admitting that he made a major mistake by hiring him and an even bigger error in extending his contract, putting the university in a tremendously difficult situation.
Lyons has a very, very difficult dilemma to deal with now. He doesn’t want to fire Neal Brown, but the on-the-field results indicate it’s time to take action. Lyons must tip-toe the line between remaining loyal to his hand-picked head coach and losing the entire fanbase.
There are very few remaining supporters of keeping Neal Brown as the head coach of the team. What support he had previously was lost during the Texas Tech game.
So while it was expected that he would survive the season and be given another year next season with the condition that the team wins 9+ games, that is not likely the case now.
Instead, Lyons simply wants to get through the season before making any decisions. If West Virginia loses the rest of their games this season, which is entirely plausible, they would be 3-9 on the season. This, of course, would be unacceptable and certainly be grounds for Neal Brown to be relieved of his duties.
Lyons will remain supportive and hopeful during this season, but there is a lot of smoke out there suggesting that Brown will not be the head coach of the team next season unless the team miraculously turns the season around.
In the meantime, Lyons will privately focus on looking to the future of the program and hope that the financial situation that he’s put the university in doesn’t cost him his own job.