After four weeks, a decision on WVU defensive coordinator Vic Koenning has finally been made. According to a release by the university this morning, Koenning and WVU have “agreed to mutually separate”.
Koenning had been on administrative leave since June 23 after sophomore safety Kerry Martin leveled accusations of racism and mistreatment against him on Twitter. That day, the university also opened an investigation into his conduct.
The university’s release from WVU included statements from Koenning, head coach Neal Brown and director of athletic Shane Lyons, who worked together in WVU’s handling of this situation.
Koenning again said that it was never his intention to be hurtful towards anyone.
“I remain apologetic to anyone who perceived something I said or did as hurtful. That was never my intent,” Koenning said. “I am relieved the process is over but will be forever changed by the experience. Personally, I’d love to get back to coaching our guys, but I know that doing so would create additional scrutiny and lingering distractions for our program. Taking all this into consideration, we have come to this mutual decision to separate.”
Marin’s accusations against Koenning included antagonizing both Martin and former WVU defensive back Derrek Pitts over their religious beliefs, referring to players using a slur for mental illness and ranting about politics, including making calls to keep Hispanics out of the country and making disparaging comments about protestors in recent weeks. Several WVU student-athletes showed support for Martin speaking up.
Matin also claimed that, after meeting Koenning, his high school coach, Capital High’s John Carpenter, had told him Koenning had a “slave owner’s mentality”. Carpenter denied having ever said that to WVSN’s Tom Bragg.
On June 24, Koenning had released a statement saying that he had hoped to speak with Martin and find common ground.
“I respect Kerry Martin’s right to share that some of my words and actions impacted him,” Koenning wrote. “I care deeply for KJ and, when given the opportunity to speak to him directly, am optimistic we can find common ground.”
Koenning came to WVU prior to the 2019 season as a part of Brown’s staff from their last jobs at Troy. In Brown’s statement, he said it would have been challenging for Koenning to continue in his role at WVU.
“Vic and I both reached the conclusion that the current circumstances make continuing in his role as Defensive Coordinator challenging,” Brown said. “At the end of the day, we all – Vic included – want what is best for our program.
“This decision was not made lightly and both parties agree that it places us in the best position to positively move forward. Vic has meant a lot to this program over the past 18 months and to me, personally, for our time together both here and at Troy University.”
Lyons cited high expectations for coaches, staff and players as a reason for the separation.
“This mutual separation is in the best interest of our football program,” Lyons said. “Coach Brown and I have set high expectations for our coaches, staff and student-athletes, and it is that culture that will allow us to compete for championships.”
Lyons has been quick to act during this, placing Koenning on administrative leave hours after Martin’s accusations.
“I want to thank Kerry Martin for having the courage to bring his concerns to light. We will not tolerate any form of racism, discrimination or bias on our campus, including our athletic programs,” Lyons said on June 23. “Coach Vic Koenning has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately, and the department will work with the appropriate parties to conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations. This is serious, and we will act appropriately and in the best interests of our student-athletes.”
According to the university’s release, Koenning had two seasons remaining on his current contract worth $1,074,059. A part of their separation agreement, Koenning will receive a total of $591,451, which is 55% of the remaining contract, over the next 19 months.