MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU head coach Neal Brown hated not being able to win the final home game of the season for his seniors.
“Hate it for our seniors, I thought there were a lot of really good stories in that group,” Brown said after the game Saturday. “They’ve represented this program well, they’ve competed hard, they played their best football at the end of their career. Looking forward to the last week with them. Hate it for them here on senior day.”
The Mountaineers fell to the Oklahoma State Cowboys 20-13 during their last time playing at Mountaineer Field this season. Brown, WVU’s first-year head coach, said he wanted to win for the seniors because of how they all bought into the program even in their final season.
“Obviously their senior year hasn’t gone as they wanted it to, but those guys played a significant role and played their best football,” Brown said. “That’s all you can ask for as a coach is they come out and lay it on the line.”
Brown said none of them asked for the situation the team is in this season, but they bought in any way.
“I met with them yesterday and I told them, ‘I appreciate you guys. You didn’t ask for us to come in here as a staff, you didn’t ask for some of the adversity that’s hit us this year…you didn’t ask for any of that. But to your credit all you did was show up and do the work’.”
One of those senior, Colton McKivitz said the motivation to come back for his senior season was based on wanting to give back to the program.
“My basis coming back was to be a part of something and leave West Virginia and West Virginia football better than what I found it,” McKivitz said. “Of course you don’t ask for a new coach, that’s how college football works, coaches change, players change. (The seniors) didn’t really talk about it, I think we just accepted it and went with it and I think guys have really bought into what he’s brought.”
Brown said the senior will not even be able to see the future that their hard work is leading toward.
“A couple of those guys have set a standard here that, unfortunately, they’re not going to see the fruits of, that will be paid off down the road,” Brown said. “Wish we could’ve finished it here at home for them.”
McKivitz said that just being apart of the process was enough for him.
“The overall culture change here is what…as players, what we’re looking for,” McKivitz said. “I’ve had multiple talks with coach Brown about the future and what this group is building. We may not see the fruits of our labor right now, but the end goal is bringing something special here and I think that’s where this is going to go.”