The West Virginia Mountaineers had an unexpected bye this past Saturday as their home game vs Oklahoma was postponed due to the Oklahoma program putting a pause on all team activities due to recent COVID tests. Despite there not being a game, there was still some news floating around about WVU head coach Neal Brown.
Adam Rittenberg of ESPN recently told WFNZ radio in Charlotte, North Carolina that Neal Brown has been a name that has started to pop up for the job opening at South Carolina. A couple of weeks ago, head coach Will Muschamp was fired after going 28-30 during his five years at the helm.
Brown, currently holds a 10-10 record at West Virginia and is only in the 2nd year of his six-year contract. The key thing about Brown's contract is that if he were to leave for another job prior to December 31st of this year, Brown would owe West Virginia $4 million. If he were to leave on January 1st or after it would dip to $3.5 million. You can see the full details of Brown's contract here.
Does it really make sense for Brown to leave West Virginia for South Carolina?
No, not at all. To be completely honest, it would be a lateral move at best and potentially even a step down. If you think about it, South Carolina plays in the SEC East which is home to Florida and Georgia, making it extremely difficult to ever be successful. At West Virginia, he could have this program on the brink of competing for a Big 12 championship as early as 2021. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger will be graduating and Iowa State QB Brock Purdy could enter the draft, opening the door for a team like West Virginia to slide into the top of the league. If Brown were to leave West Virginia for another school, I don't expect it to be South Carolina and I don't expect it to be anytime soon. He has done a tremendous job with this program, but it's not like he owns a 17-3 record as a Power Five head coach. He's 10-10 and if he wanted to get a big time job, it would be in his best interest to continue building the West Virginia program for a few years.
Does Neal Brown even want to leave, ever?
When he first took the job, Brown said he was happy to finally be somewhere where he can call home, raise his kids and not worry about where he and his family are going to end up next. To be honest, if Brown likes how things are being ran at West Virginia, he very well could be someone that stays long-term and builds something special in Morgantown. He's just a hop, skip, and a jump from his hometown of Danville, Kentucky and unless the Kentucky job ever becomes available, I don't know what school he would truly consider.
Could AD Shane Lyons extend Brown after just two years?
It's definitely possible. When you have a coach that is popping up on other school's radar, it's never a bad idea to enter contract negotiations to further assure that your coach isn't leaving. With that said, Lyons could also wait to extend Brown because he too, is in the evaluation process. Again, Brown is only in his 2nd year and there is still a lot of unknowns about where exactly this program will be in 3-4 years. You don't want to extend him prematurely and have poor results. I think Lyons will only extend Brown this offseason if he really feels like there's a possibility that he could leave.
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