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WVU Safety Kerry Martin Alleges ‘Mistreatment,’ ‘Racism’ by Defensive Coordinator Vic Koenning

Cody Nespor

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This afternoon, West Virginia sophomore safety called for “a change in our program,” with a tweet highlighting issues Martin and others have with defensive coordinator Vic Koenning.

Martin accuses Koenning of several infractions related to “mistreatment and racism.”

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.

While Koenning was making comments about protestors during a recent position group meeting, Martin says he spoke up to oppose the ideas but a graduate assistant stepped in to defuse the situation and later texted Martin, imploring him to just ignore what Koenning says in an effort to get to football material faster and without incident.

Martin also wrote that, after meeting Koenning on a recruiting trip, his high school coach described Koenning as having a “Slave Master mentality.”

Martin wrote that Koenning does do good things for the players, but the bad things outweigh the good:

“No, coach Vic is not a bad person and he does mean well in many (different) aspects but his heinous actions towards us over rules the good things he has done and many of us are uncomfortable with being around him.”

Martin wrote that he has had meetings with head coach Neal Brown over the alleged mistreatment.

In closing, Martin wrote, “I have not told anyone else this … because I didn’t want to bring negativity to the program but with everything going on and for him to still act this way and feel okay with saying what he said is not okay. Enough is enough.”

Koenning came to West Virginia as a part of Neal Brown’s staff when Brown was hired as head coach prior to last season. Koenning previously spent four seasons on Brown’s staff at Troy University from 2015-2018. Before that, he was associate head coach at North Carolina from 2012-14, Illinois defensive coordinator from 2010-11, Kansas State associate head coach in 2009, Clemson defensive coordinator from 2005-08, Troy defensive coordinator from 2003-04, Wyoming head coach from 2000-02 and defensive coordinator from 1997-99 and an assistant at Memphis from 1986-96.

Martin was a true freshman in 2019, earning third team All-American honors from Pro Football Focus. He is a Charleston, West Virginia native and attended Capital High School.

WVU did not immediately return a request for comment. WV Sports Now could not independently verify Martin’s claims.

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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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