MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The WVU athletic department and defensive coordinator Vic Koenning mutually agreed to separate, the school announced Wednesday.
The ruling came after an investigation that lasted nearly a month when Koenning was placed on administrative leave as a result of a Twitter post made by sophomore safety Kerry Martin.
“This mutual separation is in the best interest of our football program,” WVU athletic director Shane Lyons said in a news release. “Coach (Neal) Brown and I have set high expectations for our coaches, staff and student-athletes, and it is that culture that will allow us to compete for championships. We are moving forward as a program and our coaches, staff and student-athletes have my complete confidence and support.”
Koenning, 60, had two seasons remaining on his contract at a value of $1,074,059. The separation agreement from WVU calls for Koenning to be paid $591,451 over the next 19 months.
On June 23, Martin’s post claimed several incidents in regards to religious, racial and political remarks made by Koenning, as well as name-calling spanning from spring practice 2019 to June 2020. The post received several retweets from current and former players in support of Martin.
Lyons placed Koenning on leave that evening to begin an investigation.
“As I’ve stated previously, I care deeply about Vic and every player, coach, staff member and administrator who touches our program,” Brown said. “This decision was not made lightly and both parties agree that it places us in the best position to positively move forward. Vic has meant a lot to this program over the past 18 months and to me, personally, for our time together both here and at Troy University. I know that Vic will find continued success as a coach. However, Vic and I both reached the conclusion that the current circumstances make continuing in his role as defensive coordinator challenging. At the end of the day, we all – Vic included – want what is best for our program.”
Koenning came with Brown from Troy at the start of 2019 and has been with Brown for five years. He has coached at five schools throughout her career, including as the head coach at Wyoming for three seasons.
“I remain apologetic to anyone who perceived something I said or did as hurtful,” Koenning said. “That was never my intent. I wish to thank all the current and former players, coaches and colleagues – of all different ethnicities and backgrounds – whose support and encouragement have been invaluable to me and my family. I am relieved the process is over but will be forever changed by the experience. Personally, I’d love to get back to coaching our guys, but I know that doing so would create additional scrutiny and lingering distractions for our program. Taking all this into consideration, we have come to this mutual decision to separate. I will always be grateful for the relationships formed with so many players, coaches and WVU supporters. I am not done coaching. I remain passionate about leading young men and look forward to the next coaching chapter in my life. I wish nothing but the best for all Mountaineers.”
WVU will be in search for a new defensive coordinator, and on the current staff, only defensive analyst Jeff Casteel had formerly served in that role. He has been a coordinator 27 seasons at many different schools, including Shepherd, WVU, Arizona and Nevada.