By LARRY VAUGHT
Could Neal Brown finally get his chance to be head coach in a major conference?
West Virginia needs a new coach after Dana Holgorsen left for Houston and a five-year, $20-million contract that no one could blame him for taking.
Already it seems that Brown, who has guided Troy to three straight 10-win seasons, is the leading candidate to replace Holgorsen.
Brown was a three-sport star at Boyle County High School in Danville. He walked on at Kentucky and has had a successful coaching career where he was offensive coordinator at Troy, Texas Tech and then Kentucky before taking the head job at Troy.
Brown makes less than $1 million annually at Troy. West Virginia probably would offer him at least a four-year, $10-million deal. Some reports indicate a deal could be reached by Friday.
Troy has won two conference titles under Brown and has road wins at LSU and Nebraska — along with a near win at Clemson. His buyout apparently is close to $3 milion, but that’s a number that West Virginia could probably easily handle.
The move would keep Brown and his family close to their Boyle County roots, something that is important to him.
Other names being linked with West Virginia include Alabama associate coach Dan Emos, the former head coach at Central Michigan; Toledo head coach Jason Candle, who at 39 is only one year older than Brown; Memphis coach Mike Norvell , who is making $2.6 million annually but has a buyout of only $500,000; and Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell, a former Ohio State defensive coordinator.