School News

Chip Shots – Going to take a step back

Going to take a step back by Jim Buzzerd Some mornings I’m up way too early. Monday morning it was around 3:30. Still bleary eyed, I scanned my phone, basically to see the score of Sunday night’s Tampa-Dallas game that I had a small wager on. On any given morning I may have four to around a dozen news headlines from various outlets. I glanced at the phone screen and went WHOA! My ESPN feed had this message; Breaking: West Virginia has fired head coach Neal Brown, the school announced. This looked like every other message from ESPN I have seen, which is almost daily, so I clicked the message and was taken to a Tweet attributed to @ESPNCFPP. It looked official, but I was skeptical. Following the Pitt loss fan websites were rampant with folks who wanted Brown fired immediately. Following WVU’s embarrassing 55-42 long time Big 12 doormat Kansas Saturday night, the fire Brown narrative increased dramatically. There were some indications that more high-level donors were getting restless. Even with that growing sentiment, it will cost West Virginia $20 million to fire Brown right now. That number drops to $16 million New Year’s Day. Bottom line, even with some deep pockets riled up, WVU is in no position to pony up that kind of cash to pay a guy not to coach. I’m not sure it will even happen at the end of this season unless Brown agrees to renegotiate. Athletic director Shane Lyons might want to do some soul searching for letting this buyout thing get so unmanageable. Anyway, after checking two WVU fan sites and Metronews, I was able to determine the Twitter account was fake. I have a Twitter account, @2manyputters, but I don’t remember what I had to do to set it up. Still, it seems it should be difficult to pose as ESPN on Twitter. I don’t know if the culprit should be admonished or given credit, but they had me going for 10 minutes or so in the middle of the night. Back to the 55-42 loss. That was a stunner, and it has affected me. I really liked the Neal Brown hire and I love the way he represents WVU. He presents as a genuinely high-quality individual. His coaching record isn’t even mediocre two games into his fourth season. He’s 17-20 and 11-16 in Big 12 games. I’m not on the fire Brown train right now, but watching Kansas coach Lance Leipold bring his team to Morgantown as two touchdown underdogs in his second season and win is revealing. I don’t see how WVU gets this thing fixed with the defense that it has. The offense looks improved, but the losses on defense have hurt more than was believed. The professionalization of college sports through NIL had me disillusioned, and now my team is losing home games to Kansas. I still plan to watch the West Virginia games, but I’m going to be less invested emotionally. That includes not writing about them every week. I’m thinking every other week at this time, or when a topic of interest presents itself.