While it isn’t exactly a surprise, Corwin Brown confirmed that his time on the Notre Dame coaching staff is over.
“I’m just cleaning out my office,” Brown told Irish Illustrated’s Tim Prister. “I had a good time here. I’ve got a lot of good memories. It was a true learning experience.”
Brown’s tenure at Notre Dame was an interesting one. He was hired by Charlie Weis to install a defense that shared the 3-4 principles that Weis was comfortable and accustomed to from his time in the NFL. And while the Irish only managed to go 16-21 in the three seasons that Brown was with the Irish, during Brown’s two seasons as coordinator the Irish ranked 39th in total defense, a stat even more impressive when you think about how abysmal the Irish offense was in 2007.
Brown was the epitome of a team player this season, giving up the reins of the defense to Jon Tenuta and accepting a change in responsibility for the betterment of the team. While the change in strategy obviously backfired, Brown never questioned the decision, and after the Navy game, Brown showed some of the fire he brought to the team when he stood up for Tenuta’s defensive game-plan.
“Coach Weis and Coach Tenuta do a great job getting us prepared on
offense and defense,” Brown said after the loss to Navy. “I don’t care what foxhole they’re in, I’m jumping
in the foxhole with them every time.”
The decision to part ways with Brown was probably a tough choice for Kelly. In many ways, Corwin and Bob Diaco are similar — both are fiery former Big Ten players that came up the Parcells coaching tree. While I can’t speak to Diaco’s recruiting acumen, Brown was a rising star as a recruiter, and his ties to Chicago were instrumental to reeling in players from a recruiting hotbed. While Corwin has ties to the NFL, it sounds like he’ll stay in the collegiate ranks.
“I’ve coached in the pros and that’s an option,” Brown told Prister. “But I’d like to stay in college because I think I can have a bigger impact on the lives of young people. That’s what I would prefer to do, but obviously, I’m open to all opportunities.”
Cutting ties with Brown might have been a necessary evil for the psyche of the Irish defense, as a fresh start with a new staff might be what it takes to rebuild the confidence of a group that is likely shattered.
But Brown will be missed. His experience as a collegiate player at Michigan, his time in the NFL as both a player and a coach, and his ability to relate to players with his hard-knocks upbringing in Chicago supplied a critical element to the coaching staff. I have no doubt that Brown will land on his feet, and in all likelihood his departure will come back to haunt the Irish. If not on the field, then definitely in a recruits’ living room.