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Would Bowl Game be Enough for WVU to Keep Neal Brown?



WVU Football HC Neal Brown head down

Whenever he’s asked about how he will be evaluating Neal Brown, Wren Baker always responds the same way. He constantly reiterates that he won’t set a win total bar for WVU to continue trusting Brown’s sales pitch of a climb.

But nothing West Virginia’s athletic director says is going to stop people from speculating on what exactly Brown needs to accomplish in 2023 to stay on as head coach of the Mountaineers. So with the season now weeks away and WVU projected to finish last in the conference and Brown at the top of most lists of coaches most likely to be fired, it’s time to ask the question the program refuses to recognize but exists nonetheless.

Taking into account how bad the 2022 season was, everything that’s been going on within the school and overall athletic program and a schedule that’s universally regarded as one of the toughest in the country, would a bowl appearance be enough for Brown to keep his job?

At face value, reaching a bowl game, and certainly winning a bowl game, after a 5-7 season would be a step in the right direction. The problem is fans are never going to just judge Brown based only what happens this season. The fact he owns a 22-25 record through four seasons is impossible to ignore.

No matter what reason or excuse anyone wants to provide for one of the roughest stretches for the West Virginia football since the 1970’s, a losing record with two bowl games and one bowl win to this point is below expectations based on the history for the Mountaineers.

Asti: Dissecting Good, Bad, Ugly of Neal Brown’s Tenure at West Virginia

However, if Brown does reach 6 wins and a bowl game despite the changes, the uncertainty and the schedule, some could argue keeping Brown would make sense. That argument would center around firing Brown could actually cause WVU to risk going backwards again. Firing a coach likely means losing recruits and switching up everything from system to culture. Is that really a road West Virginia wants to go down IF Brown does show improvement?

Now of course, WVU suffering through another losing season will undoubtedly mean the end of Brown’s tenure, but the question for the moment is – what if he can avoid that, yet still doesn’t win big?

Should a bowl appearance earn Brown a sixth season?

Brown also opened up about his full tenure during a talk with WVSN’s Mike Asti.

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