LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Greg Brown, an NFL coaching veteran and former collegiate defensive coordinator, has joined the University of Louisville football’s coaching staff as the safeties coach and recruiting coordinator. Head coach Bobby Petrino announced the hiring on Monday.
Brown, who spent 15 years in the NFL, comes to Louisville after spending the 2013 season as Alabama’s secondary coach under Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide ranked in the top-15 nationally in scoring defense and passing yards allowed.
“I’m thrilled to be able to hire Greg Brown to complete our staff,” Petrino said. “Greg has coached some outstanding players at the NFL level and has served as a defensive coordinator in college. He brings a great deal of experience and knowledge to the defensive staff and is also an outstanding recruiter. To be able to complete our staff with the caliber of coach like Greg Brown says a lot about the University of Louisville.”
Brown has developed some of the nation’s best on the defensive side of the ball, including NFL All-Pro Rodney Harrison, and a pair of Jim Thorpe Award winners, which recognizes the best defensive back in the nation. He also has coached six draft picks, a total of 15 NFL All-Pro performers, and directed five all-conference performers.
Brown also has mentored premier NFL safeties Samari Rolle, Blaine Bishop, and Marcus Robinson. On the collegiate scene, Brown guided Deon Figures and Chris Hudson to win the Jim Thorpe Award while at Colorado in 1992 and 1994, respectively. In addition to the major award winners, Brown tutored young cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown, with Smith becoming a two-time all-Big 12 honoree.
During his tenure in the NFL, he concluded his four-year stint with the New Orleans by leading the team to the No. 3 ranking in pass defense in 2005, holding opponents to a just 178 yards per game.
Brown, who spent the 2011-12 seasons as the defensive coordinator at the Colorado, also was the co-defensive coordinator at Arizona in 2010. Brown led a resurgence of the Wildcats’ football program into the top 25 for the first time in a decade and helped lead them to the Alamo Bowl. Under Brown’s tutelage, the Wildcats were ranked 33rd in the nation in total defense and held five opponents to 14 points or less during the year.
Brown previously spent four years in Boulder (2006-09), the last three as the passing game defensive coordinator. It was his second stint at Colorado, following and preceding NFL jobs with six different teams for 15 years.
Brown joined the CU staff under new coach Dan Hawkins after the completion of the 2005 NFL season. In his first two years at Colorado, he helped tutor Terrence Wheatley, coaching him to first-team All-Big 12 honors and a second-round selection in the NFL draft by the New England Patriots. In his final year, he coached cornerback Cha’Pelle Brown to second-team All-Big 12 honors, with three other secondary players earning honorable mention accolades.
During his NFL coaching career, Brown spent two years with the Atlanta Falcons and one with the San Francisco 49ers after coaching on the west coast at San Diego for the 1995-96 seasons. The Chargers finished in the top five both years in fewest yards allowed per completion, where he came in contact with Harrison, who eventually became one of the league’s top safeties. He moved on to the Tennessee Oilers, coaching the secondary in both 1997 and 1998.
In his second stint at Colorado, Brown helped the Buffaloes hold the top national ranking in pass completion defense and the Big Eight in pass defense in 1992. He joined the CU staff days after the Buffs won their first national championship (Jan. 7, 1991). He returned to the NFL in 1994, joining the Atlanta staff as defensive backs coach. The Falcons finished second that season in the league with 23 interceptions.
Brown started his coaching career in 1981 as a graduate assistant at the University of Texas-El Paso, his alma mater, where he worked with the secondary. The following year, 1982, he came back to the state of Colorado, serving as a defensive coach at Green Mountain High School in Lakewood.
His first stint in the professional ranks came the following spring, with Brown joining the staff of the Denver Gold of the United States Football League (USFL). He coached the secondary for the Gold for two seasons (1983, 1984) before moving on to the NFL for the first time in the summer of 1984, joining Tampa Bay’s staff. With the Buccaneers, he coached three different positions: defensive quality control (1984), offensive quality control (1985) and the U-backs/tight ends (1986)
Brown returned to the college game in 1987, coaching the defensive backs for two seasons at the University of Wyoming before doing the same at Purdue for the 1989 and 1990 campaigns. He then returned home to Colorado for a second time in joining McCartney’s staff in 1991.
He graduated from UTEP in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in education (history/physical education). At UTEP, Brown lettered twice at cornerback under Bill Michael, and received the Coca-Cola Hold Helmet Award for his play against San Diego State. He earned his associate’s degree from Glendale (Ariz.) Junior College in 1978.
Brown graduated from Arvada (Colo.) High School, where he lettered in both football and track. His father, Irv Brown, is a long-time Denver radio personality and the former head baseball coach and one-time assistant football coach at the University of Colorado. He is married to the former Stacie Bible, and the couple has two daughters (Hannah and Grace).