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Don Brown leaving UArizona to return as UMass head coach

Arizona Wildcats defense coordinator Don Brown is leaving after one season to become head coach...
Arizona Wildcats defense coordinator Don Brown is leaving after one season to become head coach at UMass.(Arizona Athletics)
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 12:25 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona Wildcats defense coordinator Don Brown is leaving Tucson after one season to become head coach at UMass again.

Both schools made the announcement Monday, Nov. 22.

The Wildcats defense made a huge improvement in just a year under Brown.

In 2020, the Wildcats gave up a Pac-12 worst 39.8 points per game. They had only two interceptions, one fumble recovery and two sacks.

In 2021, they are giving up 30.8 ppg, have 12 picks, five fumble recoveries and 17 sacks.

UMass said Brown led the Minutemen to the winningest five-year stretch in program history from 2004-08.

“I am honored to return to Amherst and lead the football program at the University of Massachusetts again,” Brown said, according to the school. “I promise to work tirelessly to make this program into something that our players, alumni and fans can be proud of. My focus will also be to develop our student-athletes so they can play at an elite level and achieve success, which requires building great relationships and having a tremendous work ethic. I can’t wait to get back to the Commonwealth and get to work.”

Brown, who was born in Massachusetts, is well-known for his animated sideline presence as well as his “aggressive and blitz-heavy attacks.”

“I am very pleased that we are able to bring Don and his family back to UMass. Coach Brown’s remarkable coaching expertise and familiarity with our program and the Northeast makes this a perfect fit,” said UMass Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford. “Don is a phenomenal recruiter, talent developer and connector. We will benefit from his football acumen, strong leadership qualities and his fierce intensity and desire to build our growing FBS program into a perennial winner.”

Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch confirmed the hiring during his weekly news conference Monday.

Fisch said Brown won’t speak about the change until after the Wildcats’ season ends. Arizona (1-10) faces Arizona State Saturday in Tempe in the annual Territory Cup.

According to AZ Desert Swarm, the Wildcats are 20 1/2-point underdogs against ASU.

ASU (7-4) has won four straight over Arizona, including a 70-7 rout in Tucson in 2020.

The Wildcats’ last win over the Sun Devils was 56-35 in 2015.

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