What makes a great head coach? Is it strategy? Recruiting? Wins? While all of these characteristics and achievements are important, the most vital feature a coach must have is found in how they treat people. As for West Virginia’s Neal Brown, he is easily the nicest coach in all of College Football. He is not out for popularity, he does not have an agenda to better his name, he simply strives to put others in front of himself.
Brown has made it clear that he wants his programs to be players first. Since arriving in Morgantown in early 2019, Brown has created a family atmosphere among the Mountaineer Football team. Constantly on social media, Brown and the team have been seen participating in various team activities after practice sessions, and have even taken trips to places such as a West Virginia coal mine prior to the 2019 season. The former Troy coach wants to make sure that his team is not only successful on the field, but they also gain a deeper appreciation for the people around them and the people in the state, all while becoming 1st-team citizens in the process. It is easy for a coach to focus entirely on football, and boosting his own ego through wins. A coach that puts players first is rare today in College Football.
To fans, many coaches often seem “superhuman.” They come off as being too high up on the totem pole to interact with us “normal folk.” As for Brown, he really is just another one of the guys. His Appalachian raising makes him feel like he belongs, stating in his introductory press conference that everything about West Virginia “fits his DNA.” The fit of Brown in West Virginia has been perfect since the beginning. He is truly the “southern hospitality” personality the Mountaineers have needed at the head of the program.
The second “run-in” touched me the most. In early April this year, my family and I lost our aunt tragically. Our family was torn to shreds, and honestly did not even know how we would respond. That same day, the Mountaineer Football Twitter page posted a video of a pregame speech by Neal Brown. During this video, the head man would speak of adversity, and how dealing with adversity had made the Mountaineers a better team. I decided I would “at” the Coach, thanking him for these much needed words. I would explain in the tweet what our family was going through, and that this “pick-me-up” was what I needed at the time. I was not expecting Brown to see it, much less respond to it, but what would happen next meant more than any win Brown will ever bring to my favorite team.
Sorry to hear. 🙏
— Neal Brown (@NealBrown_WVU) April 4, 2020
Brown responded to my tweet expressing his condolences. It was at this moment, I was unquestionably sold on him. Brown is not only a damn good head coach in my eyes, but he is an all-around phenomenal human being.
Let’s Go Mountaineers!