Morgantown, West Virginia – Make no mistake about it, today’s “forced resignation” of Shane Lyons has been in the works behind the scenes for a while now.
And to be clear, Neal Brown has exactly a zero percent chance of remaining the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers following this season.
Although West Virginia University showed Brown their full support today, there is absolutely no way that a new athletic director is going to be hired, analyze what Brown has done over the past 4 years and think, “Hey, this guy deserves another year.” It’s just not going to happen.
From what I’ve been told, the new director of athletics has likely already been decided and frankly, the new head coach decision has been narrowed down to just a few candidates.
West Virginia knows who they want and there are several outstanding athletic directors and head coaches who will be willing and able to clean up the mess created by Shane Lyons and Neal Brown.
The most prominent names already mentioned as potential replacements for Lyons are current Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens, Georgia’s current associate athletic director Kevin Miller, former West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck and current Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock.
Really, West Virginia can’t go wrong with any of those possible candidates. All four are proven, highly-respected and have ties to West Virginia.
The plan over the next couple of weeks is to hire an athletic director, allow Neal Brown to finish out the season with his team, and then the new athletic director will determine whether Brown should remain with the team or be let go. Again, while it will cost the university a large amount of money to fire Brown, the new athletic director’s top priority will be to negotiate the contract buyout and to move on by hiring his/her new head coach.
In addition to negotiating the contract buyout and firing Neal Brown, the new athletic director will likely also have to deal with the pending retirement of legendary basketball head coach Bob Huggins, who will almost certainly retire in the next couple of years, as well as the hiring of the new basketball head coach.
Whoever West Virginia decides on/has decided on as their new athletic director, they will have tremendous responsibility in fixing the mistakes of the past administration as well as preparing West Virginia University for success in the future.
This isn’t a hire that West Virginia can get wrong.