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WVU Coach Neal Brown Supports Investigation of DC Vic Koenning; Emphasizes ‘Respect, Tolerance’

Cody Nespor

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Late Tuesday, West Virginia football head coach Neal Brown released a statement on safety Kerry Martin’s accusations of mistreatment and racism from defensive coordinator Vic Koenning.

Brown said that Martin had every right to express himself as he did and that Martin’s tweets were the first he heard of these allegations.

“Earlier today, Kerry Martin expressed his voice and he had every right to do so,” Brown wrote. “I first learned about Kerry’s stated concerns via Twitter.”

Martin alleged that he had gone to Brown in the past over his problems with Koenning, saying “I have had meetings with coach Brown himself about the mistreatment that I have received from Coach Vic.”

Brown continued, saying that he waited to offer public comment so that he could have the chance to talk with those involved, including athletic director Shane Lyons, who announced that Koenning had been placed on administrative leave Tuesday afternoon.

“I care deeply about everyone involved and have waited to speak publicly so that I could first speak with Kerry, Vic, the team, and our administration,” Brown said. “After speaking with Kerry, I took immediate action. Along with Shane and his team, we launched an independent investigation. I spoke with all parties involved, the defense as a unit and the team as a whole.”

Several of Martin’s teammates have made public statements in support of the sophomore from Charleston, W.Va.

Brown emphasized that he wants his team to have a culture of “acceptance, respect, tolerance, and positive relationships.”

Brown ended by saying he is supportive of the university’s investigation and will refrain from further public comment until it is complete.

“I will refrain from further conversation or comment about these issues until the University process is complete,” Brown wrote. “I ask everyone to be patient as we work through this process as quickly as possible. We will listen, learn and grow from this together, as a family, to become even more united.”

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Cody is currently a second-year graduate student at West Virginia University studying journalism. His graduate research focuses on the effects newspaper closures have on local communities. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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