Morgantown, West Virginia – If West Virginia University was more forward-thinking and more open to real change, Deion Sanders would be the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers.
And if Deion Sanders was the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers, everything would be different in the state of West Virginia. The attention and relevance that Sanders brings to a college football program could positively affect an entire state and that is being seen clearly now in Colorado, where Sanders is the head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes.
Sanders’ presence in Colorado will completely transform the area, if it hasn’t already done so. Winning fixes everything and Deion Sanders will win wherever he goes. His ability to recruit top tier players makes him infinitely valuable and his stature of one of the greatest players in football history makes his respected by all in the business.
Colorado saw that and jumped at the opportunity to make him their head coach. Cincinnati and South Florida made the same push for him.
West Virginia, on the other hand, remained steadfast with Neal Brown as their head coach. Brown, who has a 22 and 25 record over the course of 4 seasons with the Mountaineers, is the exact opposite of Sanders. He brings no excitement, no relevance and no real respect from anyone that matters in college football. Brown is the anti-Coach Prime.
With that said, former athletic director Shane Lyons chose to stick with Neal Brown last season rather than making the obvious choice of firing him during the season. If Lyons would have fired Brown in the middle of the season, he could have been the very first Power 5 program to pursue Deion Sanders and he would likely still have a job at West Virginia University.
Lyons would have had to promise Sanders that he would let “Primetime be Primetime”, that he would allow Sanders to run the show like he wanted it to be run. Lyons would have had to swallow his pride and admit that the hiring of Neal Brown was a mistake and let Deion Sanders completely tear down what they had built for four seasons, but ultimately Sanders would have made West Virginia football relevant and meaningful immediately.
While Brown’s ridiculous contract buyout is large and difficult for the university to pay for, it’s worth noting that the success and attention that Deion Sanders would have brought to Morgantown would have paid for that ten times over.
The problem here is that West Virginia University is too stuck in the last century. Rather than making a no-brainer decision like pursuing Deion Sanders, they stuck with the safe, easy, predictable choice, and they will get average and predictable results because of it.
If West Virginia University truly cares about its football program, they will have to get bold, unpredictable and creative in the future to make that happen. For those saying that Deion Sanders would have never come to West Virginia, he went to Colorado. West Virginia has better facilities, is in a better conference and has more NIL money than Colorado. This isn’t a dream. This could have been our reality.
West Virginia could’ve landed Deion Sanders if they were more forward-thinking and it would have changed everything. For those who say he’d never come to West Virginia, he went to COLORADO. We have better facilities, we’re in a better conference and have more NIL $. #WVU
— The Voice of Morgantown (@voicemorgantown) January 20, 2023