Morgantown, West Virginia – Neal Brown’s greatest gift might be his ability to talk without really saying a whole lot. Today, Brown finally addressed the rumor about him potentially going to South Carolina to become the new Head Coach of the Gamecocks.
Brown said the following: “I’m not a candidate there.” What Brown failed to do was the following:
1.) Reveal whether he had any contact with the University of South Carolina. Was he interested? Were they interested in him?
2.) Does he feel like he deserves a contract extension/raise?
3.) Give his long-term commitment to West Virginia University.
When a coach is brought up in rumors like this, they almost always reaffirm their commitment to the university they are employed by. A simple statement such as this would have been appropriate: “I love West Virginia University and this is my home. We’re building something special here and I am committed 100% to making the football program one of the best in the country.”
Instead, Brown rambled on about how unfair it is that internet speculation is something that he has to deal with as a coach now. Brown, who laughably suggested that he stayed off social media for the past two days, must realize that he’s not in the Sun Belt anymore, he’s in the big time now and is one of the highest paid public employees in the state.
It’s his responsibility to answer to this speculation and to reassure the very passionate fanbase of the Mountaineers, whether he wants to or not. And frankly he could have extinguished the fire and squashed the rumors by simply making a quick statement like the one I provided above.
But he didn’t. He “stayed off social media” and allowed the rumors to heat up. In addition, his “I’m not a candidate there” statement is such a cop out, such a gross negligence to the people of West Virginia, that it’s difficult to understand how he got away with it.
It’s important for any fan base – but particularly the West Virginia fans who have been spurned by coaches in the past – to hear that their coach is committed, that he wants to be here, that he has no interest in any other programs.
Neal Brown may not leave for South Carolina, but it would have been nice to get something more than a vague denial. The people of West Virginia want to hear how much he loves our state, how he wants to be here long-term and how he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.