Morgantown, West Virginia – Following last season, West Virginia’s Director of Athletics, Shane Lyons, gave head coach Neal Brown a 2 year contract extension and a raise, despite a 10-10 overall record.
Now after a 6-7 record this season and a 16-17 overall record in 3 seasons with the Mountaineers, Lyons’ trust, approval and acceptance of the job that Neal Brown has done seems utterly ridiculous.
But Lyons is not the only person culpable. The media and fans have also given Neal Brown blind loyalty and trust that he would be able to properly build the football program.
Lyons’ extension and raise for Brown was perhaps the worst possible decision he could have made at the worst possible time. Lyons recently explained the extension and raise by saying that he was concerned that other programs seeking a head coach would come in and pick Brown off if he didn’t take the preemptive actions that he took.
However, it’s unlikely that another program would have chosen Neal Brown, who had a 10-10 Power 5 Conference record at the time, as their top choice.
Lyons should demand the following of Brown:
1.) Hire an offensive coordinator.
2.) Make immediate staff changes, particularly on the offensive side.
3.) Make it clear that positive results in the upcoming season are necessary. Another 6-7 or even 7-6 record is unacceptable at this point. 8 or 9 wins in Brown’s 4th season should be a minimum.
To refer to West Virginia’s media as weak, feeble and neutered is an understatement. Although media members are rightfully concerned about losing their credentials if they ask tough, honest questions of the coaching staff, they should also be aware that they have a responsibility to demand answers to questions that are not always easy to ask.
Following West Virginia’s humiliating loss to Minnesota – and following all of the Mountaineers’ losses this season – the media lobbed softball after softball at Neal Brown without any real questions being asked. This is completely unacceptable and is a very big reason why we are where we are .
West Virginia fans are some of the most passionate, loyal fans in the nation, and unfortunately many have bought into Brown’s “trust the climb” nonsense. In year one, that is reasonable and acceptable. In year two, perhaps. But in the third year of a coach’s tenure at a university, results are expected.
Neal Brown hasn’t earned the trust of the fanbase with the results that he’s produced on the field and it’s important that fans demand better. After all, it’s going to take a combined effort of West Virginia University administration, the WVU media and the fanbase to really push this football program forward and to get it back to where it belongs.