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Standoff ends with ex-ND coach Corwin Brown in hospital

Aug 12, 2011, 9:42 PM EDT


After a seven-hour standoff with St. Joseph County Police and a SWAT Team, former Notre Dame defensive coordinator Corwin Brown has left his Granger, Indiana home in an ambulance with unknown injuries from what police are calling a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

The injuries don’t appear to be life-threatening, a tranquil ending to a tense standoff with law enforcement that was triggered by a call to 911 around 1:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, which shutdown a quiet, affluent Granger neighborhood.

From there, a tense standoff continued until dusk, with power being cut to the home and police communicating with Brown via bullhorn. Reports from the scene portrayed the situation as both police negotiators and former colleagues pleading with Brown to come out of the home, with no one wanting to harm Brown, nor wanting him to harm himself.

Two different reports have former Michigan and Notre Dame assistant Bob Chimel assisting in the authorities’ pleas, while others have identified Michigan’s Director of Athletic Counseling Greg Harden as someone that helped bring Brown out from his house. Police have confirmed that Brown entered and exited the home multiple times throughout the standoff, and one report described the 41-year-old Brown as carrying a handgun.

Brown grew up in Chicago before attending Michigan on a football scholarship. A co-captain his senior year, he was named All-Big Ten before spending eight seasons in the NFL, playing for the Patriots, Jets and Lions. After his playing career was over, Brown joined the Virginia Cavaliers coaching staff for a season before joining the New York Jets coaching staff as a defensive backs coach. From there, he was plucked by Charlie Weis to be the defensive coordinator that installed a 3-4 defense for the Irish. Brown infused youth into the coaching staff and helped improve a defense that had stagnated under Rick Minter, and was known as a fiery leader known for both his passion and ability to connect with players.

Weis’ decision to hire Jon Tenuta pushed Brown from the role of defensive coordinator as the Irish transitioned back to a 4-3 scheme. Brown took on the title of associate head coach, but relinquished playcalling to Tenuta, and reports of friction on the coaching staff were widespread. When Weis was fired from the head coaching position, Brown was one of the last coaches new head coach Brian Kelly decided not to retain, and after flirting with a few college opportunities, Brown joined the New England Patriots coaching staff, reuniting with Bill Belichick, who he played under in both New York and New England. Brown lasted only one season in New England, leaving amidst reports that anonymous players complained about his coaching ability.

Brown is out of football this season, living in Granger with his wife Melissa and three children, all of whom are now in protective care. Reports say the events were triggered when gunshots were heard in the neighborhood and 911 was called. Police have also confirmed that Brown’s wife was struck in the head before exiting the home with the three children. Brown is currently in the hospital being treated for a serious gunshot wound while authorities have cordoned off the Brown family’s house.

  1. brendanunderscoreg - Aug 12, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    Wow. Nothing to say except I really hope everyone involved heals as best they can.

  2. Jennifer - Aug 13, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Keith, one of the things I most appreciate about your blog is the decency in your posts. Players and coaches are human beings, not commodities. This thought came to mind as I read about Coach Brown, and brought back memories of Louis Armstrong’s rendition of the song, “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen.”
    I hope this very sad chapter in the lives of an ND coach’s family is not exploited, as I’m afraid it may be. To those inclined, prayer would be a much better option…

    • gtizzo - Aug 13, 2011 at 3:33 PM

      Jennifer is right Keith, and that is a really nice post.

      • smurphdoggy29 - Aug 13, 2011 at 6:17 PM

        I concur with Jennifer, also people completely overlook and miss the impact internal decision making has on a person. The scenario that played out with Tenuta and Brown under Weis to form a defensive hierarchy had far reaching consequences and deeper impact than many realize.

        God Bless Corwin and his family. God speed in recovering from this sad incident.

  3. jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 13, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Ditto Jennifer.

  4. Keith Arnold - Aug 13, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Thanks, guys. Hard article to write, especially in the moment. Everyone that I’ve talked to has said great things about Corwin Brown. Here’s hoping that the ND community comes together to support the Brown family, as it’ll be a long road to recovery.

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