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Neal Brown Skyrockets Up Coaching Ranks After Turning Mountaineers Around

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WVU Football head coach Neal Brown and OLB coach Victor Cabral
Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

It’s amazing how much things can change in a year. At this time one year ago, WVU head coach Neal Brown was among the leading candidates to be the first coach fired. Fast forward to the present day and Brown has sky rocketed up the charts in terms of where he ranks compared to every major conference coach in the country.

Coaching ranks aren’t exactly as important as winning games, but looking at where CBS Sports ranks Brown now compared to last year shows how much one successful season can change the perception about someone.

Brown, who was at No. 59 out of 68 in at this point last year, has improved his placement all the way up to No. 42. In fact, only six coaches experienced a bigger jump than Brown.

Here’s what CBS’s Tom Fornelli had to say about Brown.

“At this time last year, I was fairly certain Neal Brown wouldn’t survive the upcoming season. The Mountaineers were coming off a 5-7 record in his fourth season, and the natives were growing restless. Brown responded with a 9-4 season that saw the ‘Eers go 6-3 in the Big 12, his first season with a winning record in conference play. As a result, the vibes are much higher in Morgantown heading into 2024, as is Brown’s ranking here as he climbed 17 spots. Only six coaches had a bigger jump this year.” 2023 rank: 59 (+17)

Neal Brown Reflects on Trying Times, Talks Systematic Changes at WVU

And while some could argue WVU should have won even more or simply took advantage of a schedule that turned out to be easier than projected, no one can deny Brown and his team proved doubters wrong in 2023. West Virginia responded to a win total over/under set at only 4.5 by winning nine games and a bowl game. The Duke’s Mayo Bowl win over North Carolina was only Brown’s second bowl win since taking over the Mountaineers in 2019.

All of that earned Brown a fresh new contract extension, granted one that’s also favorable for the program, too.

And now with most of the key contributors returning in 2024, WVU fans are dreaming of taking that next step on the climb and contending for the Big 12 title and a College Football Playoff birth.

For a related story, Neal Brown opened up about making systematic changes to turn the Mountaineers around.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Fred Zara

    May 15, 2024 at 12:33 pm

    ….and …IF he would win less in 2024 ??….expect him to drop just as far ! One year does NOT a top 25 program make !!

  2. Nazmo King

    May 16, 2024 at 10:38 am

    A few things we learned about Neal. First, it took him 5 years to figure out how to coach at the Power 5 level while all of us fans suffered through his learning process. He got smoked in the transfer portal his first 4 years so it took him a long time to figure that out. He got good quarterback play for the first time since he’s been here last year.

    Is he suddenly an excellent coach? Hah, not hardly. However, with Garrett Greene back the team should be above average again this year. He didn’t get destroyed in the portal this year either. Has he learned how to coach at the Big12 level? Perhaps. We’ll know a lot more after this season concludes. Will he ever vie for Big12 championship? Unlikely with all the Troy assistants.

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