College Football

AP sources: West Virginia, Troy's Neal Brown close to deal

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

By RALPH D. RUSSO

AP College Football Writer

West Virginia and Troy's Neal Brown are completing a deal to make him the next coach of the Mountaineers, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Friday.

The people spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because the contract was not yet final. Brown would replace Dana Holgorsen, who this week left West Virginia to become Houston's coach.

Yahoo! Sports first reported West Virginia and Brown were close to a deal.

The 38-year-old Brown has coached Troy since 2015 and is 35-16 at the Sun Belt Conference school. His teams have produced impressive performances against Power Five competition, winning at Nebraska this season and at LSU in 2017. The Trojans also lost 30-24 at Clemson in 2016, the season the Tigers won the national title.

Brown was offensive coordinator at Kentucky for two years before being hired at Troy as one of the youngest head coaches in FBS. Before his two-year stint with the Wildcats he served at offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas Tech (2010-12) and Troy (2008-09). He is part of the Air Raid offense tree that stems from former Kentucky coach Hal Mumme and Washington State coach Mike Leach. Brown played receiver at Kentucky under Mumme from 1998-2000.

Brown took over a Troy program that had a history of success under longtime coach Larry Blakeney but had regressed in the early 2010s. The Trojans went 4-8 under Brown in 2015 but have won double-digit games each season since. Troy won the Sun Belt in 2017 and went 20-3 in the conference over the last three seasons.

Holgorsen went 61-41 in eight seasons at West Virginia.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Updated January 4, 2019

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