Morgantown, West Virginia – While Neal Brown enjoyed success in the Sun Belt Conference, he has yet to prove himself as a Power 5 Conference coach. In fact, at 15-16 overall as the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers, Brown has failed during his first three seasons.
Brown, who had a 35-16 overall record and a 3-0 record in bowl games while at Troy, has yet to match that level of success at West Virginia. While Brown continues to implore the West Virginia fanbase to “trust the climb”, the team has actually regressed in Year 3.
It’s difficult to trust a coach of a team that hasn’t shown any improvement over three years. Ask yourself this: In what ways have the Mountaineers gotten better on the field since Neal Brown has come to Morgantown?
Obviously he has the top recruiting class in West Virginia history coming next year, but at what point will these recruits actually play? Brown has shown that he’s uncomfortable playing younger players and they may not actually contribute until 2023 or 2024.
With that said, Brown’s 15-16 overall record looks even worse when you really examine it. Five of his wins at West Virginia came against James Madison, Kansas twice, Eastern Kentucky and Long Island. These are automatic wins regardless of who is coaching the team. A monkey could be the head coach of the Mountaineers for those five games and West Virginia would still win.
To be clear, Brown is really 10-16 against actual competition. Brown has won at home against North Carolina State, on the road in Kansas State and TCU in 2019, at home against Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Christian and a neutral site win in the Liberty Bowl against Army in 2020, and Virginia Tech and Iowa State at home and at TCU on the road in 2021.
Brown’s best wins as the head coach of the Mountaineers is against #22 Iowa State, then #15 Virginia Tech (which turned out to be a really average team) and in the Liberty Bowl against Army. Army is Neal Brown’s third best win at West Virginia!
Brown deserves more time to fix this situation, but it’s stunning that Shane Lyons is so impressed with his performance so far that he was given an extension. That simply should not have happened until he’s proven himself, and just hasn’t done that yet.