Morgantown, West Virginia – Exactly three years ago to today, January 4th, 2019, West Virginia’s Director of Athletics, Shane Lyons, made the announcement that the Mountaineers officially hired Neal Brown as the team’s next coach.
Brown, who compiled a 35-16 record in four seasons at Troy, winning at least 10 games and earning bowl victories in each of the past three seasons, was one of the hottest young coaches in college football.
Lyons was thrilled that Brown was available after the former head coach, Dana Holgorsen, left for Houston.
“When I started this national search for a new head coach, I learned very quickly that he checked all the boxes of what I was looking for in our next head football coach,” Lyons said at the time.
The boxes that Brown checked were that he was a young, successful head coach with a squeaky-clean image and an Appalachian background, having grown up in Kentucky. He was the exact opposite of Dana Holgorsen, who was never fully embraced by West Virginia fans and had questionable behavior on and off the field.
Even though Brown lacked Power 5 head coaching experience, he would never embarrass the program and he was “one of us.”
“There is no question that the Mountaineers are West Virginia’s team, and I know our fans are going to love his energy, passion, work ethic and excitement that he is going to bring to our program,” Lyons added when he introduced Brown.
However, over the past three seasons in Morgantown, Brown has a 17-18 overall record and although no one expected him to win big early, improvement was certainly anticipated. However, very little improvement has been made on the field and West Virginia has suffered a mass exodus of players entering the transfer portal.
It’s safe to say that Shane Lyons, Neal Brown and the Mountaineers fanbase would not have expected the football program to be where it’s at three years later.