Morgantown, West Virginia – To be clear, West Virginia’s Director of Athletics, Shane Lyons, is 100% culpable for the current state of the West Virginia football program and should absolutely be held accountable.
Lyons giving Neal Brown an extension during the offseason after a 10-10 record through two seasons was perhaps the worst possible decision he could have made. Unfortunately, Lyons put his stamp of approval on very average results. A .500 record at West Virginia University should be something coaches should be fired over, not rewarded for.
Lyons gave Brown an almost $1 million a year raise and extended his contract by 2 years. In addition, Brown has a $20 million contract buyout, among the highest in the entire nation. This for a coach that is 15-17 since arriving in Morgantown. That’s unacceptable.
So while it’ll be difficult for West Virginia University to rid itself of Brown, it wouldn’t be so challenging to fire Shane Lyons. In essence, West Virginia is stuck with Neal Brown because of the foolish misjudgment of Lyons, but West Virginia is not necessarily stuck with Shane Lyons.
Now that West Virginia is 4-6 and need to win the final two games of the season to just become bowl eligible, Lyons must expect and require more from his head coach. Brown has a staff full of his assistants that are his friends but really not great coaches.
Lyons must demand that Brown fire coaches that have done nothing but underachieve in Morgantown. Matt Moore, Gerard Parker, Sean Reagan and Jeff Koonz have done very little to keep their jobs and remain with the Mountaineers. Again, these guys are Brown’s friends, which makes firing them an awkward, difficult thing to do, but it’s absolutely something that should have been done weeks ago.
The West Virginia football program is a mess and it’s Shane Lyons’ job to clean it up. Lyons should be on the phone with Neal Brown right now demanding that real changes happen immediately. Neal Brown clearly isn’t going to make those necessary changes on his own so Shane Lyons needs to do it for him.