A Big 12 job that was expected to become vacant likely won’t, as the Neal Brown era has come to an end in Morgantown, WV according to Ross Dellenger of SI.
To reiterate: Though many expected a potential change at the head coaching position at West Virginia, Neal Brown is believed to be safe and will remain the coach in 2023 barring an unforeseen snag, sources tell @SINow. https://t.co/GFn0M0Bavo https://t.co/la5BjIJ3xB— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) November 30, 2022
Brown will head into his fifth season with the program. The Mountaineers fell to the basement of the Big 12 standings this season and the calls for Brown’s job gradually grew louder with each passing week. A blowout loss to Kansas State in Week 12 officially eliminated them from bowl contention, with a 2022 record of 5-7, 3-6 in the Big 12.
Brown had previously coached Troy to three straight 10+ win seasons, garnering plenty of interest from Power 5 schools. West Virginia officially hired him prior to the 2019 season to replace Dana Holgorsen, who left to take the open vacancy at Houston. Brown’s tenure in Morgantown could be described as lukewarm, as the Mountaineers have mostly treaded water during his four years at the helm.
After a 5-7 record in 2019, the Mountaineers would post back-to-back six win seasons where they failed to get above .500 in Big 12 play. Getting journeyman quarterback JT Daniels in the transfer portal this past offseason, there were expectations for WVU to take a step forward in 2022. But a close loss against long lost rival Pitt and an overtime setback to Kansas to open the season set the tone for the rest of the year. The Mountaineers failed to establish any momentum as it quickly fell to the bottom of the conference standings. There was some thought that Brown’s hefty buyout might save him for another year. With the mid-November ouster of athletic director Shane Lyons however, things certainly looked bleak for the coach.
The Big 12 is in a massive period of transition with the exit of Texas and Oklahoma and the arrivals of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF. There’s an opportunity for the Mountaineers to take advantage of the inevitable power vacuum that will happen due to all of the changes, and they’re trusting that to their current head man at least for now.