The truth is whenever there’s an intriguing coordinator hire made in football, it probably isn’t that long before there’s some head coaching talk arising for said coordinator.
Just look at James Franklin’s arrival as Maryland’s offensive coordinator in December 2007.
That deal had an unofficial coach-in-waiting feel to it the second it was consummated, and sure enough it was just a little more than 13 months later when Franklin signed a tweaked deal with that designation.
Maryland’s latest coordinator hire – Don Brown – has already been a head coach at:
* Division III Plymouth State, where he was 25-6 over three years in the mid 1990s.
* Northeastern, where his .574 winning percentage (27-20) over four seasons is the best in the program since the Great Depression.
* Massachusetts, where his .694 winning percentage (43-19) over five seasons is the best in program history for a coach with more than one season to his credit.
So, the guy is a pretty good head coach, even if he has no major-college experience.
He’s also coming from a league where former Richmond boss Dave Clawson parlayed his success with the Spiders into a gig as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, which after a year led to a head coaching job at Bowling Green.
With that in mind, it seemed perfectly reasonable to ask if the 54-year-old wants to be a head coach again.
“You know, it’s a good question,” Brown said. “To be honest, and I’m going to be frank as a heart attack on this one, when I came here, it was a challenge that just seemed right. Being a D-coordinator in the ACC at the highest level, going from getting ready to play teams in the CAA to getting ready to play Virginia Tech, Florida State, Boston College, I’m a challenge guy and it just kind of hit me.
“Each year after the year you stop and evaluate where you’re at and how you do it. That’s the way I’ve always done it. I’ve been so immersed in trying to get this right for the start of [camp], it’s the one time I don’t feel like I have a good answer for you, because I don’t. I’m just so immersed on trying to get my guys ready to go.”
That, of course, is the way a smart man replies to such a question.
In short, Brown savors doing new things. And supposing Maryland’s defense can dramatically improve in the next year or two, it might make sense for a major-college program to present another intriguing challenge to a man who clearly relishes them.
After all, the propensity to seek out something different is the reason he and his aggressive defense are in College Park in the first place.
“I felt like I had one of the best I-AA jobs in the country,” Brown said. “Again, I’m a challenge guy. This is the thing that got me to the highest level. And it just fit. When I talked to coach [Friedgen] during the interview process for a day and a half, I just felt like it was a good fit. If I didn’t, I would have just kept doing what I was doing.”