LEXINGTON, Ky (WKYT) - Mark Stoops has only been UK coach for a week and already he’s landed his biggest recruit. WKYT Sports has confirmed, barring some sort of unexpected, last minute complication, former Wildcat wide receiver Neal Brown will be Stoops offensive coordinator. Details are expected to be worked out by mid day on Monday in a move that would mean a return of the “Air Raid Offense” to Commonwealth Stadium.
Brown, who began his career at UK and then finished playing at UMass, is only 32 years old making him one of the top young coordinators in the country. He’s been on Stoops’ radar for awhile but before agreeing to come back home, Brown interviewed for the vacant head coaching positions at Southern Mississippi and Louisiana Tech. He was back in Lexington on Sunday, but his decision didn’t become final until early Sunday evening. Brown will reportedly be ready to go to work on Monday.
Brown’s Texas Tech offense averaged 501.4 yards in 2012. The Red Raiders were ranked in the top 12 in the nation in yards gained and points scored. Of course, the Wildcats this season were ranked outside the top 100 in most offensive categories.
Before coming to Texas Tech, Brown was on the offensive staff at Troy in Alabama. During his tenure at Troy, the Trojans won four consecutive conference titles and earned three bowl invitations. At the time, Brown was the youngest offensive coordinator in the FBS but at the end of the 2009 season, his unit ranked third nationally in total offense (485.6 yards-per-game) fourth in passing (336.5 yards-per-game) and 16th in scoring (33.69 points-per-game).
In his first two seasons at Troy, Brown was inside receivers coach working under offensive coordinator Tony Franklin. Ironically, Brown became quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator when Franklin went to work at Auburn for Tommy Tuberville, Brown’s boss at Texas Tech. WKYT has learned that Brown did not consider following Tuberville to his new position at Cincinnati.
Joining Brown are two former Wildcats and coaching colleague at Troy, John Schlarman and Chad Scott. A native of Fort Thomas, Schlarman was a four-year starter on the offensive line at the UK from 1994 until 1997. He was named to the Freshman All-SEC team in 1994 and was named the team’s most outstanding offensive lineman in 1995 and 1996. Following his junior season, Schlarman was chosen for the Unsung Hero All-America Team by the College Football Chronicle. As a senior in 1997, playing under Guy Morriss, he earned First Team All-SEC honors.
Following his playing career at Kentucky, Schlarman coached at Bourbon County (Ky.) High School, where he coached the defensive line in 1998 and 1999, helping guide the team to the state playoffs both seasons. He returned to the University of Kentucky as an offensive graduate assistant in 2000, where he worked the Wildcats’ offensive line for two years and spent his third year working with the tight ends and serving as the walk-on coordinator.
Schlarman came to Troy after having spent four seasons as the head coach at Campbell County and Newport High Schools in Kentucky. His two-year record of 19-6 at Newport included a district title and a regional runner-up finish. He was also named the District Coach of the Year for his work in 2005. Schlarman has been the offensive line coach and running game coordinator.
Scott was a two-year letter winner at running back at UK from 2000-02. As a freshman, he led the Wildcats with 611 rushing yards and was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team, as well as being named a Third-Team Freshman All-American. As a sophomore, Scott played in eight games and was slowed with an ankle injury which limited him to 210 rushing yards.
After sitting out as a transfer in 2002, Scott played in 10 games as a junior for the University of North Carolina in 2003. That season he rushed for 182 yards. As a senior, he ranked seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), averaging 72.4 yards per game on the ground for the Tar Heels. Scott also totaled 796 yards and eight touchdowns during his senior season for North Carolina.
Following his collegiate playing career, Scott tried his hand in the National Football League (NFL), where he spent time with three illustrious franchises in the Cleveland Browns (2005), Pittsburgh Steelers (2005) and New York Giants (2005-06). He has been the running backs coach for Brown at both Troy and Texas Tech
Reportedly Brown had wanted guys who were familiar with him and most importantly teaching the “Air Raid Offense” to be part of his offensive staff as he looks to transform the Kentucky offense.