Vic Koenning placed on leave after Kerry Martin’s allegations of mistreatment

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU rising sophomore safety and Capital High School graduate Kerry Martin posted a lengthy tweet Tuesday afternoon detailing what he says are a series of inappropriate comments by second-year WVU defensive coordinator Vic Koenning.

Koenning has been placed on administrative leave by WVU. Athletic Director Shane Lyons released this statement: “I want to thank Kerry Martin for having the courage to bring his concerns to light. We will not tolerate any form of racism, discrimination or bias on our campus, including our athletic programs. Coach Vic Koenning has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately, and the department will work with the appropriate parties to conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations. This is serious, and we will act appropriately and in the best interests of our student-athletes.”

In Martin’s tweet, he wrote about several alleged incidents with Koenning since the spring of 2019. He begins by referencing former WVU safety Derrek Pitts, who has since transferred to Marshall. Martin states, “Starting back to Spring Ball 2019 before guys started to transfer, Coach Vic has antagonized Derrek Pitts for believing in something that he didn’t believe. He would make remarks about the Bible and talk about religion in front of Derrek, making him want to question the things he believed.”

Martin later discussed an alleged incident in June of 2019, after the team returned to Morgantown for summer workouts. Martin said, “I had my first incident with him after a mistake I made on the field that he called me retarded for doing the wrong technique.” Martin added that he has family members who are mentally ill.

The latest incident Martin alleges occurred yesterday in a position meeting. He states, “Coach Vic tells us about the conversation he had with his son about the rioting and protesting and his exact words were, ‘If people did not want to get tear gassed, or push back by the police, then they shouldn’t be outside protesting’.” Martin added that he spoke up about this but did not receive a straight answer.

Towards the end of the tweet, Martin adds that, “No, coach Vic is not a bad person and he does mean well in many different aspects but his heinous actions towards us overrules the good things he has done and many of us are uncomfortable with being around him.”

Head coach Neal Brown offered this statement late Tuesday evening:

“Mountaineer Family, I come to you tonight sick about today’s events.

Earlier today, Kerry Martin expressed his voice and he had every right to do so.  I first learned about Kerry’s stated concerns via Twitter.  I care deeply about everyone involved and have waited to speak publicly so that I could first speak with Kerry, Vic, the team, and our administration.

After speaking with Kerry, I took immediate action.  Along with Shane and his team, we launched an independent investigation.  I spoke with all parties involved, the defense as a unit and the team as a whole.  I again emphasized to our team that our program culture will be one of acceptance, respect, tolerance, and positive relationships.  I stressed to our team and staff that we will be open and transparent throughout the University process.

I will refrain from further conversation or comment about these issues until the University process is complete.  I ask everyone to be patient as we work through this process as quickly as possible.  We will listen, learn and grow from this together, as a family, to become even more united.”

Martin says he has had meetings with head coach Neal Brown about the mistreatment. Brown has a previously-scheduled press conference set for Wednesday afternoon.

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