No shirts, no shoes, no coaching: Brown brings dress code to WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – If you want to coach for West Virginia, you better wear pants.

It’s one of the new mandates brought in by Neal Brown as he looks to reshape the West Virginia program in subtle ways. There’s now a dress code for coaches and support staff members when they go to the Milan Puskar Center.

“The only requirement is you’ve got to have pants,” Brown said Wednesday morning during an exclusive sit-down interview with MetroNews.

When that pronouncement was met with laughter, Brown noted, “That came out funnier than it was meant to be.”

The policy, a carryover from his time at Troy, is no joke. There will be no one wandering the football facility looking like they’re at a Jimmy Buffett concert.

“Some type of dress pants. Close-toed shoes. And a shirt with a collar on it,” Brown said of the complete dress code, which would also fit in at a quality public golf course.

Brown was once a shorts-and-sandals kind of guy, figuring that it didn’t matter when most of his time was spent hidden away from public view studying film of practices, opponents or prospective recruits. But he doesn’t want his staff having that laissez faire attitude.

“When I was an assistant coach, I was probably one of the guys who tried to fight the dress codes,” Brown said. “But then as you go through your career and you want to start thinking like a head coach, you’re like ‘Oh, you do this because what if the school president shows up? What if a donor comes through? What if a prospective athlete comes through?’

“You don’t know. I have no idea who is going to come through that door. So what we started doing was ‘let’s look the part.’”

The code only applies while school is in session, so things will be more relaxed during August training camp. And no one ever has to feel like they’re dressing for initiation at an Ivy League fraternity.

“We can go to shorts when school isn’t in session,” Brown said. “We’re not trying to be overly formal. Regardless of who comes through the door, let’s try to look like a Division I football program.”

Brown also noted that the changes won’t even be that much different for the sweatpants-loving crowd thanks to recent upgrades in dress-pant technology.

“The thing is, with the new Nike pants and stuff, they’re really comfortable,” Brown said. “So you’re not even trading in comfort.”

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