West Virginia has mutually parted ways with defensive coordinator Vic Koenning, the university announced on Wednesday. The parting comes after the school investigated claims of mistreatment made by sophomore safety Kerry Martin Jr. Among the allegations made, Koenning insulted people with intellectual disabilities after Martin made mistakes during practice; made insensitive remarks about immigrants and recent protests across the country; and applied inappropriate pressure to Martin after he changed his religion.
Koenning was placed on leave in June.
"This mutual separation is in the best interest of our football program," athletic director Shane Lyons said in a statement. "Coach [Neal] 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."
Koenning had two seasons remaining on his contract valued at $1,074,059. In the separation agreement, Koenning will receive $591,451 over the next 19 months.
"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," Koenning said. "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."
In addition to his numerous allegations against Koenning, Martin also posted a screenshot between him and an unnamed WVU graduate assistant during a meeting in which Koenning reportedly said, "If people did not want to be tear gassed, or push back by the police, then they shouldn't be outside protesting." However, Martin did say in another tweet that Koenning visited him in his home town of Charleston to bring him food during the COVID-19 outbreak and wasn't a bad person.
Koenning has said that he never intended to say anything insensitive to his players and was going to use this time as "an opportunity for me to listen, learn and improve."