UPDATE: Brown plans to focus on 'culture, vision, passion' as WVU head football coach

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WSAZ/WV MetroNews) -- UPDATE 1/10/19 @ 12:41 p.m.
The Mountaineers officially welcomed their new head football coach to West Virginia University Thursday.

Neal Brown spoke at a press conference at the Milan Puskar Center Team Room.

"What an honor and what a privilege it is to stand here before you today as the head football coach at West Virginia University," said Brown after thanking the crowd of spectators. "Culture, vision, passion: those are the three things that have always been very important to me."

WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons and President E. Gordon Gee spoke and presented a jersey to the 35th head football coach.

Coming from Troy University, Brown replaces Dana Holgorsen, whose eight-year tenure ended when he left for Houston.

Brown’s recent 31-8 three-year stretch made him a candidate for recent vacancies at Louisville and Kansas State. His 2017 team won at LSU and his 2016 squad battled to a 30-24 loss at Clemson.

UPDATE 1/4/19 @ 1:16 p.m.
West Virginia has reached an agreement to make Troy’s Neal Brown its new football coach, and athletics director Shane Lyons was working Friday to finalize contract details.

Our media partner WV MetroNews reports that the school has informed Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell of its decision. Fickell and Brown interviewed for the vacancy this week, as did current West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson.

University sources said Brown’s hiring wasn’t yet official Friday, but Lyons was excited to land one of the top coaches at the Group of Five level.

He replaces Dana Holgorsen, whose eight-year tenure ended Wednesday when he left for Houston.

Brown’s recent 31-8 three-year stretch made him a candidate for recent vacancies at Louisville and Kansas State. His 2017 team won at LSU and his 2016 squad battled to a 30-24 loss at Clemson.

On route to this year’s 10-3 mark, Troy won at Nebraska and ultimately beat Buffalo 42-30 in the Dollar General Bowl.

An “Air Raid” disciple who played receiver for Hal Mumme at Kentucky, the 38-year-old Brown has been an offensive coordinator at Texas Tech and Kentucky. He continued calling plays in his head coaching role at Troy.

Brown’s overall record with the Trojans was 35-16, including 23-9 in the Sun Belt Conference.

Intent on hiring someone with head-coaching experience, West Virginia’s second-tier list of candidates included Mike Norvell of Memphis, Seth Littrell of North Texas and Toledo’s Jason Candle. But Lyons and university President Gordon Gee never had to move beyond there top two choices, Brown and Fickell.

UPDATE 1/2/19 @ 3:11 p.m.
The University of Houston officially welcomed Dana Holgorsen to the football coaching staff with a tweet Wednesday afternoon.

The WVU head football coach is leaving the Mountaineers for a 5-year, $20 million dollar deal to be the head coach at Houston, according to various reports.

Houston Football tweeted, "Help us welcome Coach Dana Holgorsen to H-Town! #GoCoogs"

In a video, Holgorsen is wearing a Houston hat and says, "Go Coogs! Hey, y'all want to go win some games? Let's go win some games."

WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons released the following statement, "I want to thank Coach Holgorsen for his eight years at West Virginia. We wish him and his family all the best at the University of Houston. Our national search for his replacement has already begun, and I know it will be a successful one. A proven record of competitive success, a passion for the student-athlete, emphasis on academics and a strong work ethic are among the qualities that I will be looking for in our next head coach. We will move quickly to bring him to Morgantown to continue our strong winning tradition and solidify our place in the Big 12 and on the national scene. We are looking forward to this new and exciting era for Mountaineer Football."

Various reports, initially from SB Nation, indicate WVU head football coach Dana Holgorsen will leave the Mountaineers to become the new head coach at the University of Houston.

The announcement could come today (Tuesday).

Holgorsen and Houston are reportedly finalizing a 5-year, $20 million dollar deal. Holgorsen was offensive coordinator for the Cougars in 2008 and 2009.

West Virginia is coming off a disappointing 2018 campaign, finishing 8-4 after starting the season 8-1. The Mountaineers lost in the Camping World Bowl to Syracuse, 34-18, on December 28.

Reports say Houston waited until after New Year's because Holgorsen's buyout with WVU dropped from $2.5 million in 2018 to $1 million in 2019.