West Virginia’s Massive Opportunity Wasted

Morgantown, West Virginia – Look, West Virginia is a small, poor state and its people don’t dream particularly big, but the reality is that West Virginia University could have convinced Deion Sanders to be the next head coach of the Mountaineers.

If West Virginia president Gordon Gee would have been forward-thinking and innovative in his approach to the future of the football program, Sanders certainly would have considered Morgantown. Although this seems like a far-fetched dream, Sanders ended up choosing the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.

West Virginia has better facilities, is in a better conference, has a better overall football tradition (although Colorado won a split national championship in 1990), has better pieces to work with currently (Colorado was 1-11 last season), and a superior fanbase.

While some may think that bringing Sanders to Morgantown would have been impossible, the people of Colorado thought the same before it actually happened.

West Virginia football has increasingly become irrelevant nationally over the past five years. Deion Sanders has proven in only a couple of days the impact that he can have on a college football program. The top recruits in the country want to play at Colorado now, donors are lining up to help pay NIL deals and it’s very likely that Sanders will turn Colorado into a real, legitimate contender next season.  

West Virginia had a real opportunity that it simply wasted. Imagine if Gee (and Lyons at the time) made the appropriate decision to fire Neal Brown two or three months ago. During the remainder of the season, they could have gone with an interim coach while passionately pursuing and focusing on Deion Sanders as the next head coach of the team. Sanders, who was not being courted by other programs at the time, would have instantly put West Virginia at the top of his list. Although he likely knows little about the state or the program, he would have appreciated their passion and desire to make him the next head coach.

While paying Neal Brown’s massive contract buyout would not have been easy, but the success and attention that Sanders would have had at West Virginia would easily pay for the buyout and more in the long run.

The state of West Virginia has not thought big historically and it’s one of the many reasons that the state is in the condition that it’s in. If West Virginia University would have thought big by making Deion Sanders the next head coach of the Mountaineers, it would have paid off in a major way.