Neal Brown Embraced WVU’s Identity in 2023

Morgantown, WV – Things were not always easy for Neal Brown in 2023. Before leading the Mountaineers to a 9-4 finish, the former Troy head coach was the subject of a plethora of scrutiny all offseason. His name appeared on virtually all “hot seat” lists, and his team was picked to finish dead-last in the Big 12 Conference by the media.

While it would have been easy for Brown and the Mountaineers to buckle under the criticism, they did what West Virginian’s are best at – they told the struggles to piss off and paved their own path of success.

A fiery and passionate Neal Brown was adamant that his team would not finish last in the standings since Big 12 Media Days in July. It was evident that he was upset with the optics, and that he had faith in himself and his team. Brown bet on himself and it paid off.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what being a Mountaineer is all about.

Even when things get hard, those who live the Old Gold and Blue always grind out success. The Mountaineer Football program has historically been much better when nobody believes in them. The underdog role is an identity that West Virginia has always been proud of, and it is exactly what Neal Brown embraced in 2023.

All season, the slogan “14th” was WVU’s battle-cry. It was their Big 12 Preseason ranking, and embodied the disrespect that the Mountaineers had endured since the 2023 season came into focus. It was simply the fuel that the Mountaineer Football program needed to finally give it the breakthrough that it had been desperate for.

Heading into the future, Neal Brown now understands what it takes to be successful in Morgantown. It’s not always the flashiest recruits or the best strategies. Sometimes, it is simply a will to prove the world wrong. A desire to show the world that West Virginia Football is a force to be reckoned with, and a program that is damn proud of their blue-collar roots.

Despite success, the doubters will still be present. Many will continue to question if Neal Brown is the right man for the job. However, now that Brown has finally embraced WVU’s identity, there should be no question about his fit in the Old Gold and Blue.

Neal Brown has finally earned his “Mountaineer badge.” He is ready to show the world that his football program is here to stay.

(Photo by WVU Athletics)