Morgantown, West Virginia – It’s a matter of when not if Neal Brown will be fired by West Virginia University. Nothing short of a miraculous turnaround will save his job and that’s extraordinarily unlikely with a brutal Big 12 Conference schedule looming.
A $16.9 million buyout of his contract following this season is large and will be difficult, but the university will have no choice but to attempt to negotiate it and find a way to cut ties with Brown.
With that said, here’s a look at realistic options for the Mountaineers moving forward.
1A – Shawn Clark, Appalachian State Head Coach
Why Shawn Clark? Clark, 47, is a relatively young, up-and-coming head coach who has been successful at Appalachian State and has proven that he can upset the big boys. Yesterday, Clark’s Mountaineers upset Texas A&M on the road. Oh, and he’s originally from Charleston, West Virginia.
Why Not Shane Clark? He’s too much like Neal Brown. He’s had success, but it’s been in the Sun Belt Conference.
1B – Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina
Why Jamey Chadwell? Chadwell, 45, was the 2020 AP College Football Coach of the Year. Over the past 3 seasons, Chadwell’s Coastal Carolina team has gone 24-3.
Why Not Jamey Chadwell? No Power 5 Conference experience.
Swing For the Fences
Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M Head Coach
Why Jimbo Fisher? He’s won a national championship with Florida State, he’s 118-38 overall and 8-2 in bowl games during his career, and he loves his home state of West Virginia.
Why Not Jimbo Fisher? He has struggled recently at Texas A&M and is considered highly overpaid for the results that he has produced there. He has an astronomical buyout and it’s very unlikely that A&M would be willing to pay it to fire him.
Rich Rodriguez, Jacksonville State Head Coach
Why Rich Rodriguez? In his final three seasons in Morgantown, the Mountaineers were 32-5 and reached unprecedented heights. He’s 2-0 at Jacksonville State and at 59 years old, he has a lot of coaching time left in his career.
Why Not Rich Rodriguez? Far too divisive. While many would celebrate his return, a huge portion of West Virginia fans would be completely against it. He has a ton of baggage and hasn’t been particularly successful since leaving West Virginia.
Tony Gibson, Defensive Coordinator, NC State
Why Tony Gibson? West Virginia native who has been an outstanding recruiter and assistant during his long coaching career. He understands the importance of West Virginia football in the state and this would be his dream job.
Why Not Tony Gibson? No collegiate head coaching experience.
Jahmile Addae, Secondary Coach, Miami
Why Jahmile Addae? Young (38 years old), passionate coach with a ton of respect in the coaching field. He was rated as the #2 recruiter in the nation last year and has incredible rapport with his players. The Mountaineers had one of the best defenses in the country when he was a co-defensive coordinator at West Virginia and he has been successful everywhere he’s gone.
Why Not Jahmile Addae? No collegiate head coaching experience.
Graham Harrell, Offensive Coordinator, West Virginia
Why Graham Harrell? Harrell, 37, is in his first season as the offensive coordinator for the Mountaineers and although West Virginia is 0-2, the offense is substantially improved.
Why Not Graham Harrell? In addition to no head coaching experience, one has to wonder if he would use this job as a stepping stone to a larger program if he has success here.
Jordan Lesley, Defensive Coordinator, West Virginia
Why Jordan Lesley? West Virginia’s defense has been outstanding during his time with the team and he’s done everything right while with the program.
Why Not Jordan Lesley? No head coaching experience and is too tied-in with Neal Brown.