BOSTON (CBS) — If you were to look up “Old School Football Coach,” Boston College defensive coordinator Don Brown wouldn’t be far down the list.
The Spencer native’s career in the college ranks spans over three decades, with stops at nearly every New England football program. It began back in 1982 as an assistant at Dartmouth, where he served as defensive coordinator from 1984-87 before taking the same job at Yale. From there, Brown has served as defensive coordinator at Brown, UMass and Connecticut, with stints as a head coach at Northeastern, UMass and Plymouth State.
Heck, Brown even served as Yale’s interim head baseball coach in 1992, leading the Bulldogs to a 26-10 record and a tournament berth.
And while he may seem calm and collected on the sidelines every weekend, it’s the intensity he brings to the field, everyday, that helps his get his message across to his players.
“Like I tell the guys, if I expect them to have intensity every day I have to bring it. That’s what we’re looking to do as a group.”
Brown is also a family man, a father of four and grandfather of nine — soon to be 10.
“That’s the way I treat them,” he said of his players, “I treat them like they’re my own sons.”
But don’t let that (ahem) cuddly exterior fool you. Brown is one of the premier defensive coordinators in the country today, and demands execution from his players.
“On the field, when we cross that white line we go to work. Things aren’t always friendly, but they’re direct,” he said. “I always tell them I critique the performance, not the performer.”
That is the epitome of tough love, but the kids he coaches get it. And they go all out for their coach.
“He goes hard and pushes us to go hard too,” said senior defensive lineman Mehdi Abdesmad. “That shows up on the field.”
“Everyone loves playing for him; he’s a great coach and a great guy,” added senior lineman Connor Wujciak. “He gets in your face, but we know he loves us all and is doing it in our best interest.”
“Don is real. He is a tough, New England guy and he has come up the hard way like we all have – the small college route through New England,” said BC head coach Steve Addazio. “You have to love him because that’s who he is. He loves defense; attack-blitzing defense. He can really build a great attitude, a toughness, and he’s done that to our defense.”
This week, Brown is tasked with coming up with a defensive game plan to stop the 9th-ranked Florida State Seminoles, who invade Alumni Stadium for a Friday night tilt under the lights. Brown is confident in his defense, and knows his players will be fired up for one of the biggest games on the schedule.
“It will be wild. I think the environment will be similar to when we played USC last year, and our guys really feed off the energy,” he said. “I know they’ve been looking forward to this all year, so we’re going to get a great effort from our guys.”
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