UConn sports

UConn football and men's basketball news and notes from writer Neill Ostrout.

Don Brown named UConn defensive coordinator

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Don Brown stands on the University of Maryland sideline early into his stint as the defensive coordinator for the Terps. Brown has been hired to take over UConn's defense. Photo by Associated Press

Don Brown, Maryland’s defensive coordinator for the last two seasons, is leaving the Terps and new head coach Randy Edsall to take the same position at UConn according to multiple sources. Edsall, of course, left the Huskies soon after the Fiesta Bowl to take over in College Park, Md.

Brown’s hiring is expected to be officially announced later today by UConn, though an athletic department spokesman declined comment when reached Friday afternoon.

Brown, who has previously served as a head coach at UMass and Northeastern, replaces Todd Orlando on the UConn staff. Orlando recently left to take over the defense at Florida International.

Hank Hughes, UConn’s assistant head coach for defense and briefly the team’s interim head coach, appears to be staying put under new head coach Paul Pasqualoni. The Huskies are still likely in search of at least one more assistant, however, to complete their new staff.

Here’s the official release from UConn on Brown’s hiring:

STORRS, Conn. (February 4, 2011) – Don Brown, who has served as the head coach at three different schools in New England and has been the defensive coordinator at Maryland for the past two seasons, has been named the defensive coordinator at the University of Connecticut.

Brown, a Spencer, Mass. native, was the head coach at Massachusetts (2004-08), Northeastern (2000-03) and Plymouth State (1993-95). He led UMass to the 2006 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision finals and has a career record of 95-45 as a collegiate head coach.

“I am happy to have the opportunity to be coaching back in New England at the highest level at the University of Connecticut,” says Brown. “My family is in New England and I am looking forward to being there. I am excited in working with Coach Pasqualoni and his tremendous defensive experience will only help me learn and grow as a coach.

“We will have a defense that is aggressive, fast and physical. I believe in big pressure and penetration and that is what I am going to give the UConn defense. I am excited to get to the campus and work hard to get better every day.”

In his two seasons at Maryland, the defense improved significantly in nearly every statistical category. The Terps ended 2010 ranked No. 38 nationally in scoring defense (22.2 points per game), No. 39 in total defense (352.3 yards per game), No. 21 in rushing defense (124.5 yards per game), ninth in pass efficiency defense (107.6 rating) and tied for 18th in turnovers gained (29). The Terps also broke up 58 passes which doubled their total from 2009.

The 2009 squad posted the Terps highest sack total in five years (2.25 per game) and picked off six passes over the final four games.

“I am tremendously excited for the University of Connecticut and our football program to bring Don Brown to the UConn family,” says head coach Paul Pasqualoni. “Don is a man of great character and has an exceptional football background, including 12 years as a head coach.

“He is a teacher, a coach and has been involved in the highest levels of academics and athletics. Don is a great addition to our staff in terms of the approach we will take with our student-athletes in the University of Connecticut football program.”

During his tenure at UMass, the Minutemen maintained one of the top defensive units in the nation. They finished among the top 20 in total defense in three of his five seasons and UMass was also first nationally in scoring defense in 2005.

Brown led UMass to its best five-year span in program history as the Minutemen finished with 43 wins in his tenure, the third-highest total in school history. His winning percentage (.694/43-19) is tops in UMass history.

In 2006 and 2007, he led UMass to a 23-5 overall record as the Minutemen earned NCAA FCS postseason berths both years, while winning consecutive conference titles.

Brown led UMass to the 2006 national championship game after capturing the Atlantic 10 title with a perfect 8-0 record.  UMass tied the school record for wins in a season with a 13-2 record and set a school-mark for wins in a row with 12.

Brown was recognized nationally and regionally for the team’s accomplishments. He was named the 2006 AFCA Region I Coach of the Year, 2006 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year and 2006 New England Football Coach of the Year.

Prior to his head-coaching stint at UMass, Brown led the Northeastern Huskies for four seasons (2000-03). After taking over a team coming off a 2-9 record, with just two winning seasons in the previous 12 before his arrival, Brown led Northeastern to a 27-20 mark. The Huskies posted winning records each of his last two seasons, going a combined 18-7 during that span.

In 2002, Brown led Northeastern to its best season in school history, as the Huskies went 10-3 and made the school’s only appearance in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.

Brown was one of the top defensive coaches in the Northeast before his most recent two stints as head coach. He served as UMass’ defensive coordinator during the 1998 and 1999 seasons and helped UMass to two of the best seasons in school history, as the 1998 team posted an overall record of 12-3 and won the Division I-AA national championship.

During the 1996 and 1997 seasons, Brown served as the defensive coordinator at Brown University.

Brown also served as a head coach at Plymouth State (1993-95) where he posted a 25-6 mark (.806), leading the Panthers to a pair of Division III playoff appearances.

Prior to his time at Plymouth State he was the defensive coordinator at Dartmouth (1984-86) and Yale (1987-92).  Brown began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at Dartmouth in 1982 after five seasons (1977-1982) at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., He moved on to Mansfield (Pa.) University as an assistant coach in 1983.

He is a 1977 graduate of Norwich University where he starred at running back and is now a member of the NU Hall of Fame. He earned his master’s degree from Plymouth State in 1996.

Born, July 31, 1955, Brown and his wife, Deborah have four children (Echo, Zachariah, Rana and Chelsea) and three grandchildren (Lola, Piper and William).

The Don Brown File

Year     School                Position
1982     Dartmouth            Assistant Coach                     Ivy League Co-Champions
1983     Mansfield (Pa.)     Defensive Coordinator
1984     Dartmouth            Defensive Coordinator
1985     Dartmouth            Defensive Coordinator
1986     Dartmouth            Defensive Coordinator
1987     Yale                     Defensive Coordinator
1988     Yale                     Defensive Coordinator
1989     Yale                     Defensive Coordinator              Ivy League Champions
1990     Yale                     Defensive Coordinator
1991     Yale                     Defensive Coordinator
1992     Yale                     Defensive Coordinator
1993     Plymouth State     Head Coach                           ECAC Playoffs
1994     Plymouth State     Head Coach                           NCAA Division II Second Round/Freedom Conference Champions
1995     Plymouth State     Head Coach                           NCAA Division II First Round/Freedom Conference Champions
1996     Brown                  Defensive Coordinator
1997     Brown                  Defensive Coordinator
1998     Massachusetts     Defensive Coordinator              FCS National Champions/Atlantic 10 Champions
1999     Massachusetts     Defensive Coordinator              FCS Quarterfinals/Atlantic 10 Champions
2000     Northeastern         Head Coach
2001     Northeastern         Head Coach
2002     Northeastern         Head Coach                           FCS First Round/Atlantic 10 Champions
2003     Northeastern         Head Coach
2004     Massachusetts     Head Coach
2005     Massachusetts     Head Coach
2006     Massachusetts     Head Coach                           FCS Championship Game/Atlantic 10 Champions
2007     Massachusetts     Head Coach                           FCS Quarterfinals/Colonial Athletic Association Champions
2008     Massachusetts     Head Coach
2009     Maryland              Defensive Coordinator/CBs
2010     Maryland              Defensive Coordinator/CBs       Military Bowl Champions

- Neill

Categories: General
Neill Ostrout