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WVU, Koenning agree to separate following player’s allegations

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University’s athletic department and football team Defensive Coordinator Vic Koenning have “mutually agreed to separate” following allegations of mistreatment by sophomore safety Kerry Martin.

“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,” Koenning stated in an announcement from the athletic department.

Koenning came under fire and was quickly placed on leave after social media postings from Mountaineers defensive back Kerry Martin. Martin tweeted that certain things Koenning said made him uncomfortable.

In a lengthy tweet posted on June 23, Martin detailed several instances of alleged mistreatment by Koenning over the course of the last year and a half.

“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 said in June.

Koenning was placed on administrative leave shortly afterwards. He released a statement the following day apologizing to Martin and the entire WVU family while hoping to find common ground.

The separation agreement says Koenning will be paid $591,451 over the next 19 months. He signed a two-year contract with WVU in 2019. His contract had a remaining value of $1,074,059.

Koenning has been an assistant coach for the last 34 years, and he has been a defensive coordinator or head coach in each season since 1997. Koenning has worked with Neal Brown since 2015, which included a four-year stint at Troy.

WVU released a series of statements in connection with the separation:

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.”

Joe Brocato contributed to this coverage. 

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