Title: Offensive Coordinator
Birthplace: Danville, KY
Undergraduate Degree: Business Management, University of Massachusetts
Graduate Degree: Business Administration, University of Massachusetts
Life Before Coaching: Brown's connections with the spread offense and is pretty darned interesting. I enjoyed researching this quite a bit. Brown was a high school stud. He is now part of the Boyle County Baseball and Football Hall of Fame, which must mean that he was a pretty good athlete. Brown then signed on to play at Kentucky (1998 through 2000) for then head coach, Hal Mumme. (Just for reference purposes, this is the second Hal Mumme connection that we've seen, the first being running backs coach Chad Scott who also played for Mumme at Kentucky.) Are you at all curious about who was the offensive coordinator in 1998 and probably had a hand in recruiting Brown to Kentucky? That's right, your favorite pirate, Mike Leach. Are you at all curious about who was the receivers coach and offensive coordinator in 2000? Correct again, Tommy Tuberville's favorite offensive coordinator, Tony Franklin.
Both Mumme and Brown left after the 2000 season, Brown left to finish his career at UMass. Mumme and Franklin were out of football until 2003, but then Franklin resurfaced coordinating the offense for the Kentucky Horsemen, an indoor football team . . . keep this in mind for just a few seconds. Brown played two seasons for UMass, catching 58 passes for 721 yards and 4 touchdowns, as well as being named an Atlantic-10 All-Academic. Brown finished his collegiate career after the 2002 season and then actually played for an arena team, that's right Tony Franklin's Kentucky Horsemen.
Prior Coaching Stops: Brown's first coaching stop was at UMass where he was a graduate assistant (suweet haircut) and eventually became the tight ends and offensive line assistant coach at UMass. From there, Brown went to Sacred Heart to coach quarterbacks and wide receivers in 2004, then to Delaware to coach wide receivers in 2005 and then to Troy to coach wide receivers in 2006 through 2007. Are you at all curious as to who was hired to be Troy's offensive coordinator in 2006? That's right, Tony Franklin. Franklin hired Brown and when Franklin left to coach at Auburn for Tubs, Brown then assumed the responsibilities of offensive coordinator for the Troy Trojans.
When Brown was at Troy, he was asked about some of the coaching influences (this is before the thought of Texas Tech had even happened):
I was lucky because I worked for some good guys. That’s one thing that I’ve been real fortunate with is that I’ve been around a lot of good people. At Kentucky, Tony’s a connection that paid off. Hal Mumme’s one of the best offensive minds out there. Chris Hatcher, who’s now the head coach at Georgia Southern, was there. Mike Leach was my position coach and he’s now the head coach at Texas Tech.
I played and coached under Mark Whipple. He won a championship at UMass, was the quarterback coach for (Ben) Roethlisberger with the Steelers and now he’s with the Eagles.
At Delaware, I went to a staff with a bunch of people that had won a championship, then I come here. I’ve been lucky because I’m not that old but I’ve been around a bunch of good guys.
Follow me after the jump for more on Brown and his influences.
And just to be clear, I think that there are four people that are truly Air-Raid innovators and considered to be experts (as an aside, I think that Hal Mumme actually came up with the the Air-Raid moniker while at Kentucky, although I think that Texas Tech fans think that this is something that Leach named the offense): Hal Mumme, Mike Leach, Tony Franklin and Chris Hatcher. Hatcher's name doesn't come up that often, but he is as closely associated with the Air-Raid offense as the other two, but he's been doing it at much smaller schools.
And just to clarify here are the coaches that were at place while Brown was at Kentucky (1998-2000): Head Coach (1997-2000) Hal Mumme; Offensive Coordinator (1997-1998) Mike Leach ; Running Backs Coach (1997-1999), Wide Receivers Coach and Offensive Coordinator (2000) Tony Franklin; and Quarterbacks Coach and Wide Receivers Coach (1999) Chris Hatcher.
Arrival at Texas Tech: Perhaps the question I get asked the most when talking about Texas Tech is whether or not Tuberville will keep the same offense that Red Raider have become so attached. Everyone assumes that because Tuberville had an absolutely awful situation in Auburn trying to implement the spread offense with Tony Franklin that Tuberville will abandon the offense in the same manner and method at Texas Tech. I can't imagine that happening and the biggest reason why is that Tuberville sits out all of the 2009 season, gets a job with Texas Tech, and then the first hire he makes is an offensive coordinator from Troy, the same place he hired Franklin from and the same guy that has a ton of ties to the spread offense. Quite simply, Tuberville could have picked just about any type of offensive system and any offensive coordinator, but he chose Brown and I think that speaks volumes about what Tuberville wants to continue to do at Texas Tech.
When Tuberville hires Brown, Tuberville proudly claimed that Texas Tech would keep the Air Raid offense:
"Neal is an excellent young coach, and his offensive philosophy fits perfectly here at Texas Tech," Tuberville said in a statement released through Tech media relations. "We are going to keep the Air Raid offense alive and well, and Neal’s credentials certainly back that up. He understands this system in and out and has had great success with it at Troy and is excited about coming to Texas Tech and the Big 12 Conference."
It's been easy to criticize Tuberville for those comments, but Brown's roots in the Air Raid offense began with the man that started it all, Hal Mumme. I don't think that Tuberville was off in proclaiming that the offense was the Air Raid, especially considering Brown's coaches are as follow: Hal Mumme, Mike Leach, Tony Franklin and Chris Hatcher. There is not a more knowledgable group of Air-Raid coaches than those four. I think Texas Tech fans took offense, perhpas, to the use of the term Air-Raid, when in fact this was really Hal Mumme's offense.
Troy head coach Larry Blakeney had nothing but good things to say about Brown when Brown was hired at Texas Tech:
"Neal is probably one of the best young football coaches in America,’’ Blakeney said. "He’s done a great job, not only game planning, but coaching the quarterbacks and setting up practice and calling the games.’’
"He’s sort of like maybe a gym rat as far as the coaching profession," Blakeney said. "He comes to work early and stays late. He is a driven guy as far as preparation. He’s a great fundamental coach, and he works at it very hard.:
"My whole philosophy is I want to get the best players the football in space,’’ Brown said. "If the running backs are the best players, then they’re going to get the most touches. If the wide receivers are the best players they’re going to get the most touches. It’s not a deal where I’m coming in here saying, ‘The running backs are going to get the most touches.’ Whoever the best guys are are going to get the touches.’’
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