First-year head coach Neal Brown is adapting to the challenges of virtual coaching and developing the relationships and culture of the program with ease during the Coronavirus.
The 40-year old is new the face of the Mountaineers after being hired in early January. Previously, the offensive-minded coach spent six seasons as the head coach of Troy University.
Above all, Brown has honed in his coaching staff’s ability to be good teachers. “We quiz our players to see how we are doing,” he said.
"It's about how you respond." A Neal Brown pregame message that still applies today ⛰#HailWV #TrustTheClimb pic.twitter.com/f3d69Zy8V2
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) April 3, 2020
Finding an Edge:
But instead of dwelling in the struggle and the separation, Brown has chosen a different perspective. Coming in as a first-year head coach, this situation is far from ideal. However, with a little innovation and motivation, the head coach is determined to find an edge.
“I think there’s ways to do that. How can you connect the most with your team? How can you create a culture of accountability?”
Brown isn’t the only one adapting. College football programs across the country are all facing the same struggles and hurdles. There is no playbook for a pandemic. For some coaches, this could send them spiraling, lacking the control and structure that college athletes and coaches thrive on.
For now, Brown seems to be ahead of the curve. As a younger coach in the college football world, technology is an advantage and can maybe even provide the edge that all coaches are desperately searching for.
With such uncertainty looming, there is no timetable for football’s return.
Who was able to teach remotely? Who was able to keep their players accountable and maintain the culture of their program? When the first Saturday in the Fall returns, the results will become more clear.
From the sights and sounds emerging from West Virgina, they are ready to meet the challenge head-on. In the meantime, Brown is also sending a message of safety.
“I urge everyone to continue to staying at home and practicing social distancing,” he said.