Morgantown, West Virginia – It’s easy to give up on Neal Brown. He’s never accomplished anything at a high level in college football. While he was moderately successful at Troy, Troy isn’t a Power 5 school and Troy isn’t West Virginia University.
Brown, who is 17-18 at West Virginia, is not a proven coach at this level and the Mountaineers football program is not in a better place now than it was when he was hired in 2019.
While Brown has been a fine representative of the state with his politically-correct, aw-shucks personality, he’s not a West Virginian. He’s a young head coach who would jump at the chance if a better job became available to him.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a coach moving on to bigger and better opportunities, but Bob Huggins wouldn’t do that. He’s earned the right to remain the head coach at West Virginia for as long as he wants to do it.
Huggins’ critics argue that the game of basketball and the landscape of college athletics have passed him by – and perhaps there’s a hint of truth in that argument – but Huggins has proven, unlike Neal Brown, that he’s more than capable of turning a negative situation quickly into a very positive, successful one.
In 2012-2013, West Virginia was 13-19. A year later, the Mountaineers finished 17-16. The next four seasons, West Virginia went 25-10, 26-9, 28-9 and 26-11.
So when Bob Huggins says that he’s going to fix it, it’s easy to believe it and trust him. When Neal Brown does it, it feels like empty rhetoric simply because he’s never proven that he’s capable of fixing a situation as important and complicated as the West Virginia football program.
Huggins looks miserable on his stool, watching helplessly as his team makes blunder after blunder, mistake after mistake. He’s miserable because losing destroys him, and if Bob Huggins has proven anything during his long and extraordinary career in college basketball, he’s shown that he has a remarkable ability to fix a bad situation.
It’s hard to trust the climb in football. It’s easy to trust Bob Huggins.