West Virginia University and defensive coordinator Vic Koenning have mutually agreed to part ways, following a month long investigation into misconduct alleged by sophomore safety Kerry Martin Jr. via Twitter.
On June 23rd, the West Virginia Mountaineers were blindsided when sophomore Martin released a set of tweets accusing Koenning of behavior that was unbecoming of a person in his position. The tweets alleged that Koenning had a “slave masters” mentality and used his position as defensive coordinator to push a religious agenda on players who were not Christian.
Later that evening head coach Neal Brown released a statement, which showed compassion for Kerry’s tweets but cast doubt on the entire allegations, stating “I first learned about Kerry’s stated concerns via Twitter.” The accusation that Martin had not been forthcoming when alleging he spoke to Brown fueled distrust among the fan base.
Two days later, Koenning released his own statement.
I respect Kerry Martin’s right to share that some of my words and actions impacted him. I care deeply for for KJ, and when given the opportunity to speak to him directly, am optimistic we can find common ground. In the interim, I want to offer a sincere apology to both KJ and the entire WVU Family.
Since the release of statements, things have been quite silent on the defensive coordinator front. Fans were left to wonder if the investigation was still taking place or if anything would come of the allegations. We got our answer this morning in the form of standard press release by the Athletic Department.
WVU Director of Athletics and Associate Vice President Shane Lyons:”This mutual separation is in the best interest of our football program. Coach 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.”
WVU Head Football Coach Neal Brown:”As I’ve stated previously, I care deeply about Vic and every player, coach, staff member, and administrator who touches our program. 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.”
Coach Vic Koenning:”I remain apologetic to anyone who perceived something I said or did as hurtful. 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.”