Morgantown, West Virginia – There will be several programs that fire head coaches or have unexpected vacancies to fill, and Neal Brown will be mentioned as a candidate for these positions because he’s young, he’s been successful in the past and he’s a great face of a football program.
Neal Brown does and says everything the right way. Donors love him, fans adore him, and his players respect him. Brown, 40, is young, proven and an ideal leader of a football program.
And so universities like South Carolina or Vanderbilt, both with current openings, will sniff around and learn more about Neal Brown. They may even contact his people to gauge his interest and figure out what it would take for him to leave Morgantown.
West Virginia Athletic Director Shane Lyons is likely satisfied with the job that Neal Brown has done in his two years with the Mountaineers. Brown is 10-10 as the head coach of West Virginia, and while that isn’t exceptional, it’s an expected, realistic record for a 2nd year coach in the Big 12 Conference.
Lyons will face a tough decision. Neal Brown hasn’t necessarily earned a contract extension or a raise, but he will also have to face the inevitable scenario of other athletic directors approaching Brown as a potential head coach candidate at their school.
College football is a cutthroat business and Lyons will need to do what’s best for West Virginia University. If Brown’s agent (who is also the agent of South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner) demands more money or an extension right now, Lyons has to walk away from it.
Without a program-defining win (Baylor and Kansas State at home this year don’t cut it) and a massive loss of revenue due to COVID, West Virginia University would be better off allowing Brown to leave than to overpay for him.
It’s my hope that Neal Brown remains with the Mountaineers for many years to come and has incredible success in Morgantown, but West Virginia University cannot allow itself to be used or to be a stepping stone for a coach with larger aspirations.