Report: Don Brown is UM's new defensive coordinator

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Don Brown will be Michigan's new defensive coordinator.

Michigan reportedly has hired a defensive coordinator.

Don Brown, 60, defensive coordinator at Boston College, has accepted that position on Jim Harbaugh’s staff, Sports Illustrated reported.

Brown would replace D.J. Durkin, who was hired as the head coach at Maryland.

A Michigan spokesman Sunday night said there was nothing to confirm from Michigan’s end.

Brown has been the Eagles’ defensive coordinator the past three seasons. In 2015, the Eagles ranked first in total defense, allowing an average of 254.3 yards per game.

The Eagles also were fourth in scoring defense (15.3 points), second in rushing (82.8 yards) and eighth in passing (171.5 yards).

The Eagles were 3-9 this season with wins over Maine, Howard and Northern Illinois. They were winless at 0-8 in Atlantic Coast play but gave up only 183 points in 12 games, lowest in the 14-team conference.

Brown also has been defensive coordinator at Dartmouth, Yale, Brown, UMass, Maryland and UConn. He was head coach at Northeastern and UMass.

Brown is respected in the coaching world in part because of his unique approach to blitz concepts.

Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson, who was a head coach when Brown also was a coach in the Colonial Athletic Conference, told the Boston Globe this fall of his great respect for his friendly adversary.

“I think Donnie Brown is one of the best defensive coordinators in the country,’’ Clawson told the Globe. “He coaches defense almost like an offensive coach. ... I just have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”

Brown has a calm sideline demeanor but is demanding.

“On the field, when we cross that white line, we go to work,” Brown told CBS Radio in Boston earlier this season. “Things aren’t always friendly, but they’re direct. I always tell them I critique the performance, not the performer.”

Eagles head coach Steve Addazio told CBS Radio in Boston: “Don is real. He is a tough, New England guy and he has come up the hard way like we all have .... 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.”

Brown graduated from Norwich University in 1977 and jumped right into coaching, as an assistant at Hartford High in Vermont. In 1982, he moved on to assistant positions at Dartmouth, then Mansfield (Pa.) University and Yale before becoming Plymouth State’s head coach in 1993.

Next he was defensive coordinator at Brown (1996-97) and at Massachusetts (1998-99). He was head coach at Northeastern (2000-03) and UMass (2004-08) before going to Maryland as defensive coordinator position in 2009, then moving to UConn (2011-12) and Boston College.