Neal Brown officially announced as UK offensive coordinator

jclay@herald-leader.comDecember 10, 2012 

As expected, Neal Brown will be the offensive coordinator on Mark Stoops' first football staff at Kentucky, the school announced Monday.

The 32-year-old Brown, a Louisville native who was a wide receiver at UK before transferring to Massachusetts, was the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech for the past three years.

Last season, the Red Raiders were ranked second nationally in passing offense, based on average passing yards per game.

"Neal is a young, hungry, dynamic coach who has had a lot of success in the Big 12 (Conference)," said Stoops in a press release announcing the hire. "I want a style of offense that puts defenses in difficult situations. Also important to me was Neal's familiarity with the people of Kentucky and the university. When you put together the football and the relationships, it was a no-brainer."

Brown had been an assistant at UMass, Sacred Heart, Delaware and Troy before being hired by Tommy Tuberville to run Texas Tech's offense in 2010.

The Red Raiders improved each year under Brown's guidance. After averaging 460.2 yards per game in Brown's first year at Lubbock, Texas Tech averaged 470.6 and 501.4 the next two seasons. After scoring 33.1 points per game the first year, Tech averaged 33.8 and 37.8 the next two seasons.

After a 6-1 start this year, Texas Tech finished the regular season 7-5 and will play Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Brown resigned from the Texas Tech staff on Monday — two days after Tuberville resigned to become head coach at Cincinnati — and is not expected to coach in the bowl game.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to come home to the university that I grew up rooting for, and having played here, have a true personal investment in the program," Brown said in the release. "Coach Stoops sold me on the job. I'm excited about his plan. He has a great vision about where he wants to take the program and how he wants to do it."

Brown has deep roots in the "Air Raid" offense. A star receiver at Boyle County High School, he came to UK as a walk-on under head coach Hal Mumme, who first brought the passing scheme to Lexington.

With the help of quarterback Tim Couch and Craig Yeast, Mumme guided the Cats to a 1998 Outback Bowl berth, the school's first New Year's Day bowl game since 1951.

Mike Leach, later the head coach at Texas Tech, and Tony Franklin were offensive coordinators at UK under Mumme. It was Franklin, during his time as offensive coordinator at Troy, who brought Brown to that Sun Belt Conference school.

When Tuberville was hired to replace Leach at Texas Tech, he hired Brown to run a variation of Leach's offense. Under Brown, the Texas Tech passing game ranked in the nation's top 10 each of his three years. The Red Raiders finished in the nation's top 15 in total offense all three of those years, as well.

It is expected that former UK players Chad Scott and John Schlarman, both of whom have coached with Brown, will also be joining Stoops' staff.

Scott was a running back at Kentucky from 2000-01 before transferring to North Carolina. He is currently running backs coach at Texas Tech. Schlarman was a starting offensive lineman from 1994 through 1997. He is currently offensive line coach at Troy, where he was on the same staff with Brown.

Brown and his wife, Brooke, have two daughters, Adalyn and Anslee.

He is just the second assistant to be officially announced to Stoops' staff. Last week, the school announced that Florida State defensive end coach D.J. Eliot would be UK's defensive coordinator. Stoops was the defensive coordinator at Florida State and the two worked together previously at Wyoming, Houston and Miami.

John Clay: 859-231-3226. E-mail: Blog: Twitter: @johnclayiv.

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