MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Since becoming the head coach at West Virginia University, Neal Brown has tried to implement team bonding and a family atmosphere around the football program.
In the spring, players discussed the team’s no cell phone policy and sitting with different players had help strengthen them as a unit.
Over the summer, the Mountaineers’ continued to build their relationships with several team-building activities like paintball and cookoffs.
The individual rooms have participated in a night at the Browns’ home, where the players and coaches eat and participate in friendly competition in activities with one another.
These activities help the athletes and coaches form tight knit relationships with school other.
“It definitely helps, especially with those groups like the o-line and the wide receivers, who have the most players,” running back Kennedy McKoy said. “It’s better for them to get to know each other on a personal level.”
Doing fun activities not only builds relationships on and off the field but it helps give the athletes a break from the daily grind of their lives.
“Well first off it’s really fun,” senior defensive lineman Reese Donahue said. “I think that’s something that coach Brown has done a good job with. He actually came in and made a point that it’s important to have fun while we are doing this. It is a struggle. It is a grind every single day. You’re not going to wake up feeling your best. You’re going to hurt. Its long days, a lot of sleepless nights. Studying for school and doing this, it’s really a full-time job but it’s two full-time jobs but coach Brown has made it fun.”
At the end of the day, these activities are only going to make WVU better.
“ It helps you grow and develop more,” Donahue said. “So we have seen it correlate onto the field a little bit. Even coach Brown’s no cell phone policy in the cafeteria where no hats, no cell phones things like that, you are forced to sit with different people and talk to people. I know ultimately if I know you as a person I can trust you to hold it down when I’m not in the game or when you’re at the safety position and I know you are going to do your job and you know I’m going to do mine.”
All the team-building activities have helped the Mountaineers progress on and off the field. It has encouraged them to workout on their own with each other and has opened the lines of communication.
“Even now when we’re just out there by ourselves, everybody talks, senior offensive lineman Josh Sills said. “I think that’s one of the big things that coach Moore has really harped on us. When he first got here, we really didn’t talk. We really didn’t say anything. Colton and I talked; even Chase talked and said that’s something a good offensive line has to have. We went into it knowing that we had to get better at that. If you look back from the first day of spring till now, it’s night and day between us.”
With the season rapidly approaching, WVU hopes to correlate their bonding activities into top play on the field.