Brown To Stay At West Virginia

West Virginia managed to fend off Michigan's bid to hire away women's soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, in the process demonstrating that the barbs aimed at the WVU Athletic Department don't ring true for everyone.

Brown, who had discussions with Michigan while the Rich Rodriguez defection was playing out, decided to stay at West Virginia. Her statement indicated that she was happy with the way in which WVU dealt with the situation.

"I am very happy to be the women's soccer coach at West Virginia University. Throughout the week, everyone at WVU has shown a tremendous commitment to the academic and athletic success of the women's soccer program. I am happy to remain a Mountaineer, and feel privileged to coach such a great group of young ladies. I hope to continue to build a women's soccer program that WVU and the people of West Virginia can be proud of. I want to thank President Mike Garrison and Athletic Director Ed Pastilong for the support and confidence they have shown in our women's soccer program."

Pastilong chipped in with praise for Brown and her accomplishments.

"With Nikki as head coach, we started women's soccer at West Virginia University 12 years ago and together we have built it into a Top 10 program. With Nikki at the helm, the future continues to look bright. I have great confidence that she will continue to build upon the outstanding Elite 8 run from this past season.

Retaining Brown is certainly a boost for the athletic department, which has been under fire for perceived shortcomings in its dealings with coaches over the past two seasons. However, both sides in this negotiation were able to come to an agreement without the rancor and bitterness that pervaded the football side of the house.

"Over the last few days, I have had the pleasure of discussing with Coach Nikki Izzo-Brown her vision for the future of the women's soccer program at WVU," president Mike Garrison said. "There were a number of items she felt were important to the success of the team, and WVU is taking steps to make several of the improvements she identified.

"This Big East champion team is building a legacy of excellence. Sports fans know that they had a great run to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament this year, and fell just one goal short of reaching the Final Four. Here on campus, we're proud of them not just for what they do on-field, but for their academic accomplishments and their involvement in the community.

"Heather and I joined earlier this year in congratulating them for raising thousands of dollars for the WVU Betty Puskar Breast Cancer Fund, which supports diagnosis and treatment efforts. As parents of two young daughters, we're honored to share a campus with such a great group of young women.

"Their success is a tribute to Nikki's coaching abilities and the inspiration she provides to her players. I am very glad that she is committed to remaining a proud Mountaineer."

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