Neal Brown realizes that a tragic and unfortunate circumstance has led to countless changes in daily life across the globe, but he still believes there will be “positives” that stem from this unusual time.
As West Virginia’s head football coach tries to adapt to a new normal and succeed in coaching his athletes virtually, he’s also taking time to reflect on aspects of his life that reach beyond sports.
“It wasn’t like we voluntarily did this. We were forced to hit pause, and there are gonna be positives that come from this,” Brown said. “I think it’s positives in every bit of your lives — your personal, your spiritual, your professional, I think you’re going to have real growth during this.”
Like many of his colleagues at WVU, Brown said he’s spending more time with his family and cherishing those moments as athletics in the Big 12 Conference remain on hiatus until at least May 31.
He’s coaching his 5-year-old son, Dax, to play T-ball, which he admits is “definitely harder to do than teaching a quarterback who to throw to when they’re open.” He also said he’s developing a new appreciation for his wife, Brooke, and teachers who now must educate from afar, just like college football coaches.
“Being able to spend this time with my family is something that I’ve really enjoyed,” Brown said. “I wish it wouldn’t have happened under these circumstances, but it’s something that I’ve really enjoyed.”
WVU women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown is also taking advantage of extra time with family in a similar way. Instead of coaching her team during what would be its spring season, Izzo-Brown is keeping her coaching skills sharp in a different fashion.
“For myself to get my fix, I’ve been coaching my three daughters, so I’ve been tremendously excited to have this opportunity,” Izzo-Brown said. “I’ve been trying new things with them, I’ve been hopefully developing them to be the best they can be like I would with my team.”
In what would ordinarily be a busy time of year for WVU baseball coach Randy Mazey and golf coach Sean Covich, both share the same message: if you’re able, make the most these changes, and cherish moments with family.
“They’re gonna remember that was a time where dad wasn’t gone everyday, recruiting or something,” Covich said. “We’re trying to make the best of it, and it’s actually been kinda fun.”
Added Mazey: “I hate for people to think that this is a sad time. We’re gonna try and find the positives. Go spend time with your families, and enjoy each other. You may never have this chance again.”