LEXINGTON, Ky. – New Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops is known for his background on defense, so a natural question at his introductory news conference was his thoughts on offensive philosophy.
“We’re going to have an offense that you are going to enjoy, I promise you that,” Stoops said. “Where is (former Kentucky All-America quarterback) Tim Couch? We’re going to have an offense you’re going to be proud of. We’ll get out there and rip it around a little bit, we are going to throw it.”
Stoops made his first step in fulfilling that promise with Monday’s announcement of Neal Brown, a former teammate of Couch who has guided one of the nation’s most productive offenses at Texas Tech, as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at UK.
“Neal is a young, hungry, dynamic coach who has had a lot of success in the Big 12 (Conference),” Stoops said. “I want a style of offense that puts defenses in difficult situations. Also important to me was Neal’s familiarity with the people of Kentucky and the University. When you put together the football and the relationships, it was a no-brainer.”
In each of Brown’s three seasons as offensive coordinator, Texas Tech has ranked in the nation’s top-10 teams in passing offense, top-15 in total offense and top-25 in scoring offense, having increased production in all three categories each year since 2010. Currently, TTU is second nationally in passing with 361.9 yards per game, 12th in total offense at 501.4 yards per game and 16th in scoring with 37.8 points per game as the Red Raiders prepare for the Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl on Dec. 28.
The current campaign is an expansion of the success from 2011, when Texas Tech ranked 13th nationally in total offense at 470.6 yards per game, including an average of 345.4 passing yards. The Red Raiders lit the scoreboard at a tune of 33.8 points per contest.
Individually, quarterback Seth Doege (pronounced DAY-gee) has put up eye-popping numbers over the last two seasons. In 2011, Doege threw for 4,004 yards and 28 touchdowns. With one game to play this season, barring injury, Doege is a virtual certainty to surpass the 4,000-yard mark again as he sits on 3,934 yards and 38 TDs.
In his first season in Lubbock, Brown’s offense notched 460.2 yards total offense per game, 318.9 passing, and scored at a 33.1-point clip as Tech went 8-5 and won the TicketCity Bowl.
Brown’s running game has made significant contributions to the attack as well. The Red Raiders have rushed for 135.5 yards per game and scored 51 rushing touchdowns during his three seasons. TTU’s primary running backs have averaged 4.95 yards per rushing attempt, including a 5.7 average by Kenny Williams, the leading rusher on the current squad.
As a former UK wide receiver, Brown is eager to return to Lexington.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to come home to the University that I grew up rooting for, and having played here, have a true personal investment in the program,” Brown said.
“Coach Stoops sold me on the job. I’m excited about his plan. He has a great vision about where he wants to take the program and how he wants to do it.”
Prior to Texas Tech, Brown spent four seasons at Troy University, including the last two as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. During his term at Troy, the Trojans won or shared four consecutive Sun Belt Conference championships and earned three bowl invitations.
At the time the youngest offensive coordinator in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, Brown’s 2009 offense finished third in the nation in total offense at 485.7 yards per game, fourth in passing at 336.5 yards and 16th in scoring with 33.7 points per contest. In 2008, his first as coordinator, Brown’s fast-paced offense set 10 school records.
In addition to the team accomplishments, Brown guided quarterback Levi Brown to the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year award in 2009 and the SBC Newcomer of the Year honor in 2008. During his first two years at Troy, Brown coached the inside receivers. The 2007 season saw the Trojans rank in the nation’s top-30 teams in scoring, total offense and passing offense. In Brown’s first season at the school, he helped Troy improve markedly after having been one of the nation’s least productive offenses in the season before he arrived.
Brown went to Troy after serving one season as wide receivers coach at the University of Delaware, starting three freshman wideouts as the Blue Hens posted a 6-5 record. In 2004, Brown coached the quarterbacks and wide receivers at Sacred Heart, helping guide the school to a 6-4 record and the top-ranked scoring offense in the conference. In 2003, he was the tight ends coach and offensive line assistant at Massachusetts, helping the Minutemen win a share of the Atlantic-10 championship and a berth in the Division I-AA playoffs.
Brown earned his bachelor’s degree in business management and his master’s in business administration from Massachusetts, where he played the 2001-02 seasons. He totaled 58 receptions for 721 yards and four touchdowns while being named to the Atlantic-10 All-Academic Team and the NCAA Division I-AA Athletic Directors’ Academic All-Star Team.
A native of Louisville, Brown was an all-state wide receiver at Boyle County High School in Danville, finishing his career as the No. 2 pass catcher in state history. He played at UK from 1998-2000 and was a two-year letterman, catching 10 passes, including one touchdown. He was a member of the Outback Bowl and Music City Bowl teams and earned a place on the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll before transferring to Massachusetts.
Brown is a member of the Boyle County Baseball and Football Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Brooke, have two daughters, Adalyn and Anslee.
Brown Coaching File
Year School Position Record
2003 Massachusetts Tight Ends, Offensive Line Asst. 10-3, Division I-AA Playoffs
2004 Sacred Heart Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers 6-4
2005 Delaware Wide Receivers 6-5
2006 Troy Inside Receivers 8-5, New Orleans Bowl
2007 Troy Inside Receivers 8-4
2008 Troy Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks 8-5, New Orleans Bowl
2009 Troy Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks 9-4, GMAC Bowl
2010 Texas Tech Offensive Coordinator 8-5, TicketCity Bowl
2011 Texas Tech Offensive Coordinator 5-7
2012 Texas Tech Offensive Coordinator 7-5, Meineke Car Care Bowl
National Rankings as Offensive Coordinator
Year School Passing Offense Total Offense Scoring Offense
2008 Troy 33rd, 246.6 yds. gm. 27th, 414.2 ypg 26th, 32.8 points per game
2009 Troy 4th, 336.5 ypg 3rd, 485.7 ypg 16th, 33.7 ppg
2010 Texas Tech 7th, 318.9 ypg 15th, 460.2 ypg 23rd, 33.1 ppg
2011 Texas Tech 7th, 345.4 ypg 13th, 470.6 ypg 22nd, 33.8 ppg
2012 Texas Tech 2nd, 361.9 ypg 12th, 501.4 ypg 16th, 37.8 ppg
(Note: Texas Tech has a bowl game remaining)