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West Virginia Thread Alert: Honoring Don Nehlen

The Mountaineers will wear their traditional home look in honor of their greatest coach

Rutgers Scarlet Knights v WVU Mountaineers Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Date: November 18, 2023

Time: 2:30 PM on Big12 Now | ESPN+

Location: Mylan Puskar Stadium at Mountaineer Field, Morgantown, West Virginia

Opponent: Cincinnati Bearcats

Threads: Blue Helmet - Blue Jerseys - Gold Pants

Record in Uniform: 5-4

For the second time this year, the West Virginia Mountaineers will wear their traditional home uniforms as they host the Cincinnati Bearcats in a renewal of an old Big East rivalry on the same day they honor former head coach Don Nehlen, who coached the Mountaineers for 21 years, compiling a 149-93-4.

Nehlen came to West Virginia from Bowling Green, where he had a 53-35-4 (27-21-2) record. Nehlen took over from Frank Cignetti, who struggled in four seasons as head coach. In 1980, Nehlen’s first game was against the Cincinnati Bearcats as John Denver dedicated “Country Roads” to the Mountaineer faithful when West Virginia opened a brand new stadium (Mountaineer Field).

Nehlen would bring lots of change to the Mountaineers, making his mark by having the colors be the old gold and blue. He commissioned the “Flying WV” and more importantly he won. A 6-6 season in 1980 led to three 9 win seasons in 81-83. In 1988 he brought an undefeated season to the Mountaineers and had West Virginia in the national championship game against Notre Dame. He had another undefeated season in 1993.

Nehlen completed his tenure at West Virginia with a record of 149–93–4. His 149 victories are the most in school history. With the Mountaineers, Nehlen coached 15 first team All-Americans, 82 All-Big East Conference honorees, and 80 future NFL players. In 1988, Nehlen was recognized with three national coaching awards, the Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award, the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, and the AFCA Coach of the Year. In 1993, he was named the Big East Coach of Year. Nehlen was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.