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West Virginia has officially announced the hire of Neal Brown as the team’s head coach.
The Mountaineers made the announcement Saturday morning after sources told Yahoo Sports on Friday that Brown and the school were finalizing a six-year deal. Brown’s contract is worth $19.05 million over those six years. He replaces Dana Holgorsen, who left to take the head coaching job at Houston.
Brown, 38, is one of the promising young coaches in all of college football. He’s led Troy to a 31-8 record in the past three seasons and won three consecutive bowl games.
Brown has come to the forefront of the college football world in large part because of two defining upsets the past two seasons. In 2017, Troy went to No. 25 LSU and won 24-21, manhandling the Tigers physically. In 2018, Troy went to Nebraska and won 24-19, the linchpin victory in a 10-3 season.
Brown met twice with WVU officials this week and he impressed them with his charm and charisma, flashing hints of a young Dabo Swinney. Brown played high school football in Danville, Kentucky, which is less than 200 miles from the West Virginia border. He played college football at Kentucky before transferring to UMass for his final season.
Brown is 35-16 overall in four seasons at Troy and holds a 3-0 record in bowl games. Troy tied for the Sun Belt Conference championship in 2017 and went 7-1 in the league in 2018, with the lone loss coming to champion Appalachian State.
West Virginia is coming off an 8-4 season, which included a blowout loss to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl. The Mountaineers will lose star quarterback Will Grier to the NFL and could end up in the graduate transfer market at that position. Holgorsen went 61-41 at WVU before making the surprise move to leave the Big 12 for the Houston job in the American Athletic Conference.
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