Neal Brown and Shane Lyons Are Killing the West Virginia Football Program

Cover Photo: Chris Jackson/AP

Morgantown, West Virginia – The West Virginia Mountaineers are struggling in a way right now that they haven’t in a very, very long time. In fact, West Virginia is facing absolutely unprecedented loss on and off the field.

West Virginia’s average home average attendance has been greater than 51,000 every season for the past 20 years, except during COVID in 2020.

This year, the average attendance is 48,807, a decline of approximately 2,776 fans per game. The average ticket price for a West Virginia home game is $61, which is a loss of $169,336 in ticket sales alone, not including concessions, parking, merchandise sales, etc.

In addition, West Virginia missing out on a bowl game this season, which it inevitably will do, will cost the program millions of dollars more. An average bowl game like The Liberty Bowl, for instance, pays out $3 million per team. To get into a bowl game like The Liberty Bowl, West Virginia would have to do little more than win 6 or 7 games a season, which should be a given virtually every single year.

Shane Lyons’ contract extension, raise and buyout that he gave Neal Brown following the 2020 season has put West Virginia University in a tremendously bad situation and again, has cost the university millions and millions of dollars.

At the time, Lyons said that he felt compelled to give Brown the extension following an 11-11 start at West Virginia because he “heard his name being mentioned for openings around the country.”

This, of course, was ludicrous. At the time, the positions that Lyons was referring to were Auburn and South Carolina. Neither of these SEC schools were going to even sniff around at Neal Brown and they certainly were never going to actually hire him!

Shane Lyons and Neal Brown are culpable. Lyons for his ridiculous decision-making and leadership, and Neal Brown for his terrible, unacceptable results on the field. Being a leader is about taking accountability for the results that your company or product produces. Neither Lyons or Brown have been held accountable yet and it’s time that that happens now.