Saturday, February 4th
Topic: “Getting off the field on 3rd down”
Don Brown came to Ann Arbor as Michigan's Defensive Coordinator following three seasons at Boston College, where he served as the DC and linebackers coach. Brown is widely regarded as one of the top defensive minds in the country; his units are known for their attacking style and stingy run defense, with a fierce commitment to a heavy blitz scheme.
A native of Spencer, Massachusetts, Brown brings 34 years of coaching experience to U-M, including 21 as a Defensive Coordinator. He has spent time all over New England, including 12 seasons as a head coach, compiling a 94-45 record at three different institutions (Plymouth State, 1993-95; Northeastern, 2000-03; Massachusetts, 2004-08) with five conference titles and six playoff appearances.
Before coming to Ann Arbor, he guided the Eagles' defense to a banner year, with the unit leading the nation in eight defensive categories: total defense, rushing defense, scoring defense, red zone defense, first down defense, third down defense, fourth down defense and tackles for loss. Boston College also ranked second in pass defense and pass efficiency defense.
The team’s front seven improved greatly during the three years Brown was at the helm of the BC defense. The Eagles recorded six sacks (last in the nation) the year before his arrival, accumulating just 45 tackles-for-loss for 147 yards. In just one year, Brown helped that number spike to 36 sacks and 88 tackles-for-loss, totaling 371 yards lost, and one year later they group recorded 33 sacks and 89 tackles-for-loss, piling up to 351 yards. In 2015, his final year at BC, the team registered 34 sacks, piling up 115 tackles-for-loss to take 470 yards from their opponents.
For his work in helping to turn the BC program around, Brown was nominated three times for the Broyles Award (2013-15), given to the nation's top assistant in college football, and collected American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) 2015 Assistant Coach of the Year accolades for the FBS.
Prior to joining Steve Addazzio's staff at BC, Brown served two years as the Defensive Coordinator and cornerbacks coach at Connecticut. The Huskies defense ranked among the nation's top 25 in five major categories during his two-year tenure, including a top-five ranking against the run. During Brown’s two-year stretch in Stoors, five defensive players were selected in the NFL Draft, including 2012 first-round selection Kendall Reyes (31st overall).
He spent two years at Maryland (2009-10) in the same role, improving the Terps' defense significantly, to top-40 ranks in total defense and scoring defense, top-25 rankings in rushing defense and turnovers gained, and a top-10 ranking in pass efficiency defense.
At Massachusetts, Brown was head coach from 2004-08, leading the winningest five-year stretch in school history. The Minutemen tallied a program-best 43-19 record during that span (.694 winning percentage), highlighted by a two-year stretch (2006-07) during which the team went 23-5 overall, with a school-record 12-game win streak capped by a 13-2 record and national championship game appearance in 2006. Brown earned AFCA Region I Coach of the Year honors as a result and collected Atlantic 10 and New England Coach of the Year honors as well.
In the four seasons prior, Brown was head coach at Northeastern during a turnaround effort, taking a team that went 2-9 in 1999 to a 10-3 record in 2002, leading the Huskies to the school's lone NCAA Division I-AA playoff appearance. Brown's tenure culminated in a 27-20 overall record, including an 18-7 record over the last two seasons. That season brought Brown the Atlantic and New England Coach of the Year honors as well as New England Football Writers Coach of the Year recognition.
As a head coach, Brown led Plymouth State to two Division III playoff appearances in three seasons (1993-95), collecting AFCA District I Coach of the Year honors in all three years.
He spent time as a defensive coordinator at Dartmouth (1984-86) and Yale (1987-92), He was an assistant at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania (1983) before that, and he began his coaching career as an assistant at Dartmouth in 1982 after coaching and teaching at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vermont, in the years earlier. Brown graduated from Norwich University in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in physical education and later earned his master's degree from Plymouth State in 1996.