WVU vs. the Big 12: How does Neal Brown’s record stack up against other coaches?

In the ever-competitive landscape of college football and the Big 12 Conference, coaches play a pivotal role in shaping the success of their respective football programs. New challenges over the past three years, including NIL and the transfer portal, have made it even more difficult for coaches to create a consistent winning culture at their respective programs.

West Virginia University’s head coach, Neal Brown, has been at the helm now for five full seasons. At the end of the 2023 regular season, Neal Brown is 30-29. WVU was picked to finish 14th in the Big 12 before the season began. Neal Brown and company ended up finishing fourth in the conference with his best record yet at 8-4 with a bowl game still ahead.

At the end of 2022, Neal Brown was on the “hot seat.” Possibly one of the hottest seats in all of college football! Most fans, including myself, thought 2023 would be his last year at WVU. Very few predicted Neal Brown to finish better than 6-6 this season.  As it turned out, WVU was one Hail Mary away from finishing 9-3 and tied for second place in the conference!

Let’s delve into a comparative analysis of Neal Brown’s coaching record with other Big 12 schools, examining how WVU stacks up against its conference rivals.

Baylor: Dave Aranda – 23-25 overall

BYU: Kalani Sitake – 5-7 (61-41 overall)

Cincinnati: Scott Satterfield – 3-9 (75-49 overall)

Houston: Dana Holgorsen – 4-8 (92-69 overall)

Iowa State: Matt Campbell – 53-47 (88-62 overall)

Kansas: Lance Leipold – 16-21 (53-54 overall)

Kansas State: Chris Klieman – 38-24 overall 

OU: Brent Venables – 16-9 overall

OSU: Mike Gundy – 165-78 overall

TCU: Sonny Dykes – 18-9 (89-72)

Texas: Steve Sarkisian – 24-13 (70-48 overall)

Texas Tech: Joey McGuire – 14-11 overall

UCF: Gus Malzahn – 6-6 (101-53 overall)

WVU: Neal Brown – 30-29 (65-45 overall)

Take Mike Gundy and Gus Malzahn out of the equation, and Neal Brown’s overall record is pretty similar to most other coaches in this new and expanded conference. 

It looks like Neal Brown’s job is safe for another year. However, Wren Baker, the fans, and other key stakeholders will be looking for continued improvement from the head coach with another manageable schedule in 2024.

 2024 college football season:

  • Penn State 
  • Albany 
  • at Pitt 

 – Big 12

  • at Arizona
  • at Cincinnati
  • at Oklahoma State
  • at Texas Tech
  • Baylor Bears
  • Kansas
  • Kansas State
  • Iowa State
  • UCF

Recruiting will also be a vital component of his sustained success at WVU. Neal Brown’s ability going forward to attract top-tier talent to Morgantown is crucial for WVU’s competitiveness in the Big 12. 

As noted in my previous article, Neal Brown has done a better job than any previous coach over the past 40-50 years of in-state recruiting. Just a few days ago Abe Fenwick of Charleston (6’3”, 205 lbs.), the top Quarterback in the state of West Virginia, just committed to WVU.

Hopefully, Coach Brown will have a great recruiting effort in this offseason after a much improved season and no doubts about who will be the coach next year. We will also be watching to see how Country Roads Trust and other NIL offers help impact WVU’s recruiting efforts. 

As Neal Brown celebrates his five-year anniversary at West Virginia University, a comparative analysis of the Mountaineers’ football program against other Big 12 schools highlights the positive strides made under his leadership. While it’s essential to acknowledge the competitiveness of the conference, indicators suggest that Brown’s coaching strategies are positioning WVU as a formidable force within the Big 12. As the seasons progress, continued analysis will provide a clearer picture of the program’s trajectory under Coach Neal Brown.