Neal Brown, Early Favorite for Big 12 Coach of the Year

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — No one has been more critical of Neal Brown during his first four seasons at West Virginia than me, but it’s important to give credit where credit is due, and Brown has certainly earned it this season.

After a 4-1 start to the season, Neal Brown has postioned the Mountaineers to actually compete for a Big 12 Championship this season and he’s done it by building a team that the people of West Virginia can be proud of. This team is built int he spirit of the state; tough, gritty and resilient. The way the Mountaineers win isn’t always pretty, but they get the job done and that’s all that matters.

Neal Brown has earned early season recognition

With the team’s early season success, Neal Brown is without a doubt the current favorite to win the Big 12 Coach of the Year this season. Sure, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are all having outstanding starts to the season as well, but they were expected to be successful. West Virginia’s success is completely unaccepted. Remember, it’s easy to forget that the Mountaineers were picked to finish 14th out of 14 teams in the Big 12 Conference and many experts believed that they would only win a few games this season. However, with a very favorable remaining schedule, it’s clear that West Virginia has the potential to now win 8, 9, 10 or even 11 games this year.

There’s a lot of games left in the season

Having said that, Brown will need to prove that he can consistently win in Morgantown. At 26-26 during his time as the head coach of the Mountaineers, he has struggled to win big games consistently and there are several huge games remaining on the schedule. If Brown can beat teams he’s not supposed to beat – say, UCF on the road or at Oklahoma – that would go a long way in fans really starting to trust the climb again.