WVU Introduces Brown as 35th Football Coach

West Virginia University's new NCAA college football head coach Neal Brown holds gesture at a press conference in Morgantown, W.Va., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (Craig Hudson/The Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP

MORGANTOWN — Introduced as West Virginia’s 35th head football coach, Neal Brown began his tenure by giving a packed house at the Milan Puskar Center a lesson in the ‘CVPs’ that are important to him.

“Culture, vision, passion,” Brown said. “Those are the three things that have always been very important to me. Those are the three criteria that have factored into each movement made and every opportunity that we have evaluated over the years.”

The Kentucky native went on to explain why those three things in particular were important to him and he used a Hall of Fame coach — WVU’s Don Nehlen — to exemplify their importance.

“When I think about culture, when I think about vision, and when I think about passion, I think about coach (Don) Nehlen,” added Brown. “And, the incredible legacy he left here.

Over two decades of success. And I appreciate the time he spent welcoming me to town and to this university on Sunday afternoon. He provided great insight and I appreciate that.”

Brown, who was a wide receiver at Kentucky for three years (1998-2000) before finishing his career at UMass, wasn’t finished there.

“I think about the 14th winningest program in all of college football. Gosh, I think about 15 conference championships.

“I think about the Flying WV. And the hard working, blue collar people of West Virginia that that WV represents.

“I think about Country Roads and I think about one of the best environments in all of college football.

“West Virginia is culture. It is vision and it is passion. It’s a great fit. It fit my DNA. I’m grateful to Dr. Gee, Shane Lyons, Kelly Zinn, the Board of Governors for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to lead this great program.”

Brown, one of only six FBS coaches to win 10 or more games in each of the last three years, spent the last four years at Troy University, compiling a 35-16 mark, including going 3-0 in bowl games.

The Trojans posted a 31-8 record (.795) over the past three seasons, tying for the highest winning percentage nationally among non-Power 5 schools.

He was selected as the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in 2017 after leading the Trojans to the league title.

He takes over a WVU program which finished the 2018 campaign with an 8-4 mark and a No. 20 ranking by the Associated Press.

“Competition will be key,” Brown said. “Our student-athletes will be expected to compete every day in everything. I’m talking about grades, in the offseason, practice effort, in-game performance, everything. I want our staff competing with that same energy and intensity as well. Competition breeds success. Those that possess great competitive character will strive here.”

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