Don Brown (American football coach)

Don Brown
Sport(s) Football, baseball
Current position
Title Defensive coordinator
Team Michigan
Conference Big Ten
Biographical details
Born (1955-07-31) July 31, 1955
Spencer, Massachusetts
Playing career
1973–1976 Norwich
Position(s) Running back
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1977–1982 Hartford HS (VT) (assistant)
1982 Dartmouth (assistant)
1983 Mansfield (DC)
19841986 Dartmouth (DC)
19871992 Yale (DC)
19931995 Plymouth State
19961997 Brown (DC)
19981999 UMass (DC)
20002003 Northeastern
20042008 UMass
20092010 Maryland (DC/CB)
20112012 Connecticut (DC/CB)
20132015 Boston College (DC/LB)
2016present Michigan (DC)
1992 Yale (interim HC)
Head coaching record
Overall 9545 (football)
2610 (baseball)
Tournaments 12 (NCAA D-III playoffs)
43 (NCAA D-I-AA/FCS playoffs)
12 (NCAA D-I Baseball Tournament)
Accomplishments and honors
Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League (1992)
FFC (19941995)
A-10 (2002)
CAA (20062007)
AFCA Region I COY (1994, 2002, 2006)
Freedom Conference COY (19931995)
Atlantic 10 COY (2002, 2006)
2× England Writers Coach of the Year (2002, 2006)
1× Greater Boston Coach of the Year (2006)

Don Brown (born July 31, 1955) is an American college football coach and former player. He is currently the defensive coordinator at University of Michigan, a position he has held since December 2015. Previously, he served as defensive coordinator Boston College and at the University of Connecticut and as the head football coach at Plymouth State University (19931995), Northeastern University (20002003), and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (20042008), compiling a career college football record of 9545. Brown was also the interim head baseball coach at Yale University in 1992, tallying a mark of 2610. on December 20th, 2015 he was hired as defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan.

Early life and college

Brown was born in Spencer, Massachusetts where he attended David Prouty High School. He went on to play football as a running back at Norwich University. Brown graduated in 1977. In 1996, he earned a master's degree from Plymouth State University.[1]

Coaching career

Early positions

Brown began his college coaching career as an assistant, first at Dartmouth, which won the Ivy League conference title during his tenure, and then at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. In 1984, he returned to Dartmouth as its defensive coordinator. In 1987, he took the same position at Yale.[1]

Yale Baseball

Brown was named the interim head baseball coach at Yale during the 1992 season. Brown led the Bulldogs to a 26-10 record, including a 14-4 mark in the Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League (EIBL), the EIBL championship and a bid to the NCAA tournament. Competing in the Midwest Regional, Yale lost the opener to Clemson, 8-4 before taking an elimination game against Nichols State, 13-4. The Bulldogs were then eliminated by UCLA, 8-0. Heading into the 2016 season, that was the last NCAA tournament win for Yale in baseball.

Plymouth State

In 1993, Brown assumed his first head coaching job at Plymouth State University, a Division III school, and he held that position for three seasons. During his last two years, he led the team to win the Freedom Football Conference championship and advanced to the Division III playoffs. Brown was named the Freedom Conference Coach of the Year all three of his seasons at Plymouth State. In 1994, he was also named the American Football Coaches Association District I Coach of the Year.[1]

In 1996, he took over as the defensive coordinator at Brown University, where he remained for two years. In his second season, Brown posted its best record (7–5) in 20 years and led the nation with a school record of 28 interceptions and ranked second in takeaways with 36. Opponents scored an average of 19.4 points per game.[1]

In 1998, Brown moved to the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) as its defensive coordinator. That year, UMass won the Division I-AA national championship, and in the following season, earned a share of the Atlantic 10 championship and secured another berth in the Division I-AA playoffs.[1]


From 2000 to 2003, Brown held his second head coaching job at Northeastern University. The season prior to his arrival, the Huskies finished with a 2–9 record. In 2000, Northeastern scored a 35–27 upset victory over Division I-A Connecticut. In 2002, he led Northeastern to an 11th-place final ranking, the school's highest-ever placement. The Huskies' ten wins were also the most in school history. That season, he was named Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year, New England Football Writers Coach of the Year, and American Football Coaches Association Region I Coach of the Year. In 2003, he led the Huskies to a third-place finish in the Atlantic 10, and the eight-win season matched the second-most in school history. Northeastern was also the only team to record a victory against the season's eventual Division I-AA champions, Delaware.[1]


In 2004, Brown returned to UMass to take over as its head coach. During his tenure as head coach from 2004 to 2008, UMass posted the best five-year record in school history, 43–19.[2] In his first year, he led the Minutemen to a 6–5 record, including victories over fourth-ranked Colgate, seventh-ranked New Hampshire, and ninth-ranked Maine. During 2005, Brown helped UMass to a 7–2 start and a final ranking of #19. That year, the Minutemen defeated fourth-ranked James Madison and handed Delaware their worst home loss in two decades, 35–7.[1]

In 2006, Brown led Massachusetts to the Atlantic 10 conference championship and a finish as runners-up to the national championship. They ended the season ranked No. 2 with a 13–2 record. At home, he set a school record with a perfect 8–0 record in McGuirk Stadium. That season, Brown was named the AFCA Region I Coach of the Year, Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, and New England Football Coach of the Year.[1]

In 2007, UMass again won its conference, now as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. The team advanced to the semifinals and finished the season with a No. 6 final ranking.[1]


On January 9, 2009, the University of Maryland announced the hiring of Brown as its defensive coordinator, which filled the vacancy created by the departure of Chris Cosh.[2] Maryland paid UMass a $25,000 buyout in accordance with the terms of Brown's contract.[3] With a dearth of experience and talent, especially on the offensive line, Maryland suffered a 210 record during the 2009 season.[4] The loss of cornerback Nolan Carroll due to a broken leg was cited as a serious detriment for the defense.[4] The defense struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks with the implementation of Brown's aggressive, blitz-oriented scheme.[5] Maryland finished tied for last in the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring defense, allowing an average of 31.2 points per game, and caused just 12 turnovers and recorded 27 sacks. The lower than expected figures were attributed to a lack of players suited to the defensive scheme.[6]

With a year of experience in Brown's defense, and a stronger secondary, the unit was expected to improve during the 2010 season.[7] Maryland rebounded with a 94 record and a bowl game victory, with a markedly improved defense.[8] The Washington Post described Brown's scheme as "organized chaos" and "blitzing nearly 85 percent of the time."[9] Highly touted junior safety Kenny Tate emerged as a playmaker, and Brown praised his play at "virtually every position on the field" as "unbelievable".[10] Brown was credited with preparing the team well for the 2010 Military Bowl, where Maryland beat the 12th-ranked offense of East Carolina, 5120.[11] After the season, head coach Ralph Friedgen was fired, and Brown stated a desire to remain at Maryland on the next coaching staff.[8]


On February 4, 2011 Brown was hired as the defensive coordinator at the University of Connecticut.[12] He kept that position until December 19, 2012, when he was hired by Steve Addazio to serve the same position at Boston College.


On December 21, 2015 Brown was named defensive coordinator at Michigan under head coach Jim Harbaugh. Brown replaced former defensive co-ordinator D. J. Durkin, who had departed to take the head coaching job at Maryland.[13]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs TSN#
Plymouth State Panthers (Freedom Football Conference) (1993–1995)
1993 Plymouth State 6–4 5–1 2nd
1994 Plymouth State 10–1 6–0 1st L NCAA Division III Quarterfinal
1995 Plymouth State 9–1 7–0 1st L NCAA Division III First Round
Plymouth State: 25–6 18–1
Northeastern Huskies (Atlantic 10 Conference) (2000–2003)
2000 Northeastern 4–7 1–7 10th
2001 Northeastern 5–6 4–5 6th
2002 Northeastern 10–3 7–1 T–1st L NCAA Division I-AA First Round 11
2003 Northeastern 8–4 6–3 3rd 20
Northeastern: 27–20 18–16
UMass Minutemen (Colonial Athletic Association) (2004–2008)
2004 UMass 6–5 4–4 T–2nd (North)
2005 UMass 7–4 6–2 2nd (North) 19
2006 UMass 13–2 8–0 1st (North) L NCAA Division I Championship 2
2007 UMass 10–3 7–1 1st (North) L NCAA Division I Quarterfinal 7
2008 UMass 7–5 4–4 3rd (North)
Massachusetts: 43–19 29–11
Total: 95–45
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Ranking from The Sports Network Poll.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Player Bio: Don Brown, Official University of Massachusetts Athletics Website, retrieved January 10, 2009.
  2. 1 2 Brown Hired As Defensive Coordinator, University of Maryland Terrapins Football, January 9, 2009, retrieved January 9, 2009.
  3. Assistant football coaches see pay rise with unique clauses, USA Today, November 10, 2009.
  4. 1 2 Patrick Stevens, Breaking down why Terrapins broke down, The Washington Times, November 28, 2009.
  5. Local recruit has a 'change of heart'; Johnson decommitted from Miami to join Terps for personal reasons, according to high school coaches, The Diamondback, January 25, 2010.
  6. Five Maryland Storylines heading into ACC Media Day, The Diamondback, July 24, 2010.
  7. Football kickaround, The Diamondback, July 29, 2010.
  8. 1 2 DC Don Brown: 'I know I've got a lot of good football in me', The Washington Post, December 23, 2010.
  9. Eric Prisbell, "Teprs making defensive adjustments", The Washington Post, D3, September 30, 2011.
  10. Eric Prisbell, For Maryland football, seven plays defined bounce-back season, The Washington Post, November 26, 2010.
  11. Instant analysis: Maryland 51, East Carolina 20, ESPN, December 29, 2010.
  13. "Harbaugh Hires Brown to Coordinate U-M Defense". CBS Interactive. December 21, 2015. Retrieved December 21, 2015.

External links

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