The Michigan football team confirmed Monday that it has hired Boston College defensive coordinator Don Brown to the same position, replacing D.J. Durkin. Sports Illustrated’s Thayer Evans first reported the hire on Sunday.
After Durkin accepted the head coaching job at Maryland on Dec. 2, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh moved quickly to find a replacement. He found a successful coordinator in Brown, who led one of the nation’s top defenses this season.
“We are very pleased and happy to announce that our top candidate and number one choice, Don Brown, has accepted our offer to become defensive coordinator,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “After a very thorough search and talking with those I respect the most in this game, including Jack Harbaugh, John Harbaugh, Bill Belichick, Bob Sutton, Vic Fangio and others, it led me to Don Brown. Everything he has touched has turned to gold. Just look at his track record as a head coach, defensive coordinator and even as a baseball coach. We are beyond excited to welcome this high character, high achieving individual to our program and university. Teaching and player development are synonymous with coaching and Don Brown epitomizes those qualities.”
The Eagles finished first in the country in total defense — second against the run, eighth against the pass — in scoring defense. They ended the year 3-9 after losing their last eight games, hampered by an offense that ranked 121st in scoring.
Brown, 60, has been in coaching for 34 years, 19 as a defensive coordinator and all in the Northeast. His first college job was as an assistant at Dartmouth, and he has since made 11 stops along the way. He has worked in Division I for just the last seven years.
Brown’s defense at Boston College this year was one of few to outpace Michigan’s. The Wolverines ranked fourth in scoring defense and 11th in points allowed. Defensive line coach Greg Mattison, who coordinated the unit from 2011 to 2014, will take over for the Citrus Bowl against Florida on Jan. 1 before Brown arrives. Brown also coached the linebackers at Boston College, creating the possibility that he could lead that unit again at Michigan. Chris Partridge currently has that assignment for the Wolverines, replacing Durkin in the interim.