Morgantown, West Virginia – Like Rich Rodriguez 15 years ago, Neal Brown is a young, proven head coach whose name will come up anytime there’s a coaching vacancy in college football.
West Virginia University isn’t a final destination. Not for Neal Brown, not for Dana Holgorsen and not even for Rich Rodriguez, who grew up in West Virginia and played for the Mountaineers.
If a head coach is too successful at West Virginia, a more prominent college football program will always swoop in, offer the world and try to poach the coach from the Mountaineers.
And like Rich Rodriguez, who wouldn’t take more money at a place with a better shot at a national championship? Or, as in Dana Holgorsen’s case, the same amount of money at a place with less chance to compete for championships.
It would be great to have Neal Brown in Morgantown for the next 20-25 years, but if he wins big – and we all expect him to do just that – do we really believe that he’ll continue to turn down big money and great opportunities at SEC schools who are drooling over him?
It’s an unfortunate cycle that seems impossible to break. West Virginia wants to win, but if they win too big, we know what will happen. It happened with Rich Rodriguez and it happened John Beilein in basketball and it will inevitably happen with Neal Brown if he continues this upward trajectory.
Brown may not leave for South Carolina this season, but if he leads the Mountaineers to the Big 12 Championship or competes for a national championship in the next couple of years, hanging onto him when powerhouse programs come to Morgantown with impossible-to-match offers won’t be easy.