MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — The West Virginia Mountaineers are off to a 4-1 start to the 2023 season and head coach Neal Brown’s job appears to be safe for now. Brown, who has spent so much time on the hot seat, is now 26-26 overall and has the Mountaineers seemingly headed in the right direction.
According to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Brown’s seat has substantially cooled off in the last couple of weeks. “So much for preseason polls and coaching hot seat lists. Neal Brown and West Virginia have deposited both in the rubbish bin with a 4-1 start, capped by an impressive road win on Saturday at TCU. West Virginia was picked last in the Big 12 preseason media poll, a forecast that Brown duly noted, saying in July, ‘Looking forward to proving everybody wrong on that front. We won’t finish there.’
Brown certainly faced pressure to win, and a seemingly daunting September schedule included Penn State, Pitt, Texas Tech and TCU. But many forget that even though last season didn’t go well overall, West Virginia swept the Oklahoma schools and beat defending Big 12 champion Baylor. The Mountaineers returned some experienced players, especially on defense. Brown told me last week that he especially likes his defensive front, which includes junior Sean Martin and promising redshirt freshman Tomiwa Durojaiye. WVU’s defense has shined during its start, allowing only 19 points per game and 3.3 yards per rush. Although Brown has a background on offense, a unit that has struggled for much of his tenure, he has found ways to generate wins and positive vibes.
The Mountaineers get a well-timed open week — they emerged from the TCU outing fairly banged up — before facing struggling Houston and Oklahoma State. They miss Texas on the schedule, so a solid bounce-back season and some stability for Brown seem well within reach.”
Brown has so far proven the so-called experts wrong and despite all of the negative preseason media hype, he has the Mountaineers in position to compete for a Big 12 Championship in Year 5 of his time in Morgantown.
What do you think? What is Neal Brown’s seat heat on a scale of 1-10 through 5 games?
— The Voice of Morgantown (@voicemorgantown) October 3, 2023