Official Word All That’s Left For WVU, Neal Brown
Completing, or nearly so, a rapid interview, negotiation and contract agreement process, West Virginia University and Neal Brown are set to begin the revitalization of the Mountaineer football program. All that remains is public confirmation of the deal, which is expected to come sometime on Saturday.
One of only six FBS coaches to win at least 10 games in each of the past three seasons, Brown was also a candidate for several jobs over the past two years, including the positions at Arizona, Louisville and Kansas State. He turned around a Troy program that had not had a winning record since 2010, recording a 31-8 mark over his final three seasons and an overall record of 35-16. Included in that mark is a 3-0 record in bowl games.
Full details of the contract, including the amount of guaranteed money and the buyout, are still to be revealed, but it is believed that Brown’s 2019 base salary will be $3.1 million. The six-year deal is expected to see annual increases of $50,000 per year, and culminate in 2024 at $3.35 million. That would make Brown’s base deal worth $19.35 million.
This amount does not include performance bonuses, which are also expected to be part of the final contract. In recent WVU football contracts, bonuses have been paid for total wins, bowl appearances, championship game appearances, national awards and team academic performance.
Brown’s salary will make him the highest paid coach among the four new head men in the Big 12. That includes Kansas’ Les Miles, Kansas State’s Chris Klieman and Texas Tech’s Matt Wells.
One of Brown’s initial and most important tasks will be to assemble a staff. Two Mountaineer assistants, Tyron Carrier and Doug Belk, are all but assuredly departing to Houston. Additional administrative staffers are also expected to make that jump.
Current WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson is under contract until January of 2020. He is scheduled to make $950,000 in 2019. There have also been former WVU assistants expressing an interest in returning to the program.
In addition to members of his own staff, Brown also has ties with Mississippi linebackers coach Jon Sumrall, who has been in Oxford for one season. Sumrall, like Brown, played at Kentucky, although their careers did not intersect. He was Troy’s assistant head coach, linebackers coach and special teams coordinator from 2015-17.