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West Virginia coach Neal Brown agrees to modest pay cut in 1-year contract extension

West Virginia coach Neal Brown has signed a one-year contract extension that includes a $400,000 pay cut over the next three seasons.

Brown will be paid $4 million in each of the next two seasons, a reduction of $100,000 in 2024 and $200,000 in 2025 from a previous contract signed in 2021. He'll make $4.3 million in 2026, a $100,000 drop, and $4.4 million in 2027.

The Associated Press obtained details of the latest contract, signed by Brown and West Virginia athletic director Wren Baker and dated Monday, under the Freedom of Information Act.

While the latest agreement does not mention changes to a $3.5 million salary pool for staff from his original contract, Brown said, “My first priority was retaining and rewarding our assistant coaches and support staff who have played such a critical role in our success.

“I appreciate Wren’s support on that front as well as his continued commitment to me and what we are building,” Brown said in a statement. “We share a common vision for this program and that alignment is critical to our continued success.”

The Mountaineers are coming off a surprising 9-4 season after being picked to finish last in the Big 12.

Brown is 31-29 in five seasons, the worst five-year stretch for West Virginia since 1976-80. The Mountaineers are 2-1 in bowl games under Brown, including a 30-10 win over North Carolina in the Duke's Mayo Bowl in December.

But his teams have never played for a Big 12 championship or been ranked in the AP Top 25. Brown has been especially vulnerable on the road, where his teams have gone 10-18 and lost 10 times by at least 17 points.

Brown would receive three-fourths of his remaining salary if he's fired. Under the previous contract, Brown's buyout included all of his remaining salary in 2024 and 85% after that.

If Brown leaves for another school, he would owe West Virginia 10% of his remaining salary, down from 25% in 2024 and 12.5% after that in the previous contract.

“I am pleased with the progress I’ve seen in our football program since arriving last year,” said Baker, who was hired from North Texas in November 2022. “I believe this contract amendment allows us to continue to build on our momentum as we begin our first year in the new and expanded Big 12 Conference."

The Big 12 welcomes Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah next season to bulk up to 16 teams following the departures of Oklahoma and Texas to the Southeastern Conference. BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF joined the league last fall.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football