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Syracuse University Taps Fran Brown, Nation’s No. 1 Recruiter, to Lead Orange Football
The nation’s top recruiter, a member of the 2022 College Football National Championship coaching staff and a New Jersey native, will soon take the helm of Orange Football. Today, Director of Athletics John Wildhack announced that Fran Brown, currently defensive backs coach at the University of Georgia, has been named the 31st head coach of Syracuse University Football.
Brown will be officially introduced as head football coach at a press conference on Monday, Dec. 4, at the Ferguson Football Auditorium in the George R. Iocolano and William C. Petty Football Wing at the John A. Lally Athletics Complex. Details of the press conference will follow.
“I am incredibly proud to be leading Syracuse Football at a university with a rich and storied tradition of academic and athletic excellence,” says Brown. “Syracuse Football has outstanding talent, great facilities and passionate alumni. The success of the players is my No. 1 priority—on and off the field. I want my guys to succeed in life, because they played football at Syracuse. My immediate area of focus is building relationships with my current players and putting together an elite staff, while also having fun on the recruiting trail. I’m ready to get to work and look forward to building something special for our fans.”
Brown joined the University of Georgia in early 2022 where he was part of the coaching staff that led the undefeated Bulldogs to victory in the 2022 College Football National Championship. Under the leadership of the defensive coaching staff, the Georgia defense finished the season ranked among the nation’s leaders in rushing defense, scoring defense, red zone defense and total defense. The defense also finished the season with two first team All-Americans and finalists for awards, including the Butkus Award, the Rotary Lombardi Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award.
According to 247Sports, Brown is the No. 1 recruiter in the nation for the 2024 recruiting class and has played a critical role in attracting top talent to Georgia. This designation follows his recruitment of two five-star prospects, both of whom are ranked No. 1 in their respective positions. Brown brings with him deep ties to New Jersey and the Northeast, which will allow him immediate recruiting success for the Orange.
“Fran is an outstanding coach, recruiter and person, and exactly who we need to take Syracuse Football to the next level,” says Wildhack. “Fran has clearly articulated a vision for the future of our football program, and he is a powerhouse recruiter with deep ties to the geographies from where we need to draw consistently. Fran has had tremendous success recruiting to a variety of programs—in the South, Southwest and Northeast, and I have no doubt he will bring that track record here to Syracuse. I am looking forward to welcoming Fran and his family to the Orange community. The future is bright for our football program.”
A former student-athlete, Brown played football at Western Carolina University, where he was named a team captain and earned First Team All-SoCon selection at cornerback for the Catamounts. He went on to play two seasons in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals. Chancellor Kent Syverud says Brown’s experience as a college and professional football player combined with his coaching prowess positions him well to support Syracuse University’s student-athletes’ success both on and off the field.
“What impressed me most during my conversation with Fran is his deep commitment to our student-athletes,” says Chancellor Syverud. “He knows how to win and how to recruit. But most importantly, he is passionate about mentoring and guiding student-athletes in all aspects of their lives. Fran is the kind of coach who is going to demand excellence from his student-athletes and coaching staff in everything they do—on the field, in the classroom and in our community.”
Brown’s extensive resume includes stops at Rutgers University, Temple University (2011-16, 2019), Baylor University (2017-18) and Paul VI High School (2010). During his career, Brown has worked with some of the top coaches in the country, including Georgia’s Kirby Smart and University of Nebraska’s Matt Rhule. Both Kirby and Rhule offered high praise for Brown.
“Fran is excellent,” says Smart. “No ego, he’s trustworthy, smart and he’s worked really hard during his two seasons here to earn an opportunity like this. He has built great relationships in our building, our players love him and we couldn’t be more excited for him, Teara and their family.”
“Fran Brown will be a tremendous leader for the Syracuse program,” says Rhule. “His commitment to improving the lives of the players he coaches will only be matched by his passion for coaching on the field. Syracuse will recruit elite talent, retain and develop those players, and produce a team that everyone can be proud of.”
Prior to joining the Georgia staff, Brown was defensive backs coach at Rutgers for two seasons under Head Coach Greg Schiano. In his first year with the program, his secondary helped create 19 turnovers in 2020, 10 more than the previous season and the most since 2012 for the Scarlet Knights. Schiano offered congratulations to Brown upon the news of his hiring.
“I am proud of Fran and thrilled for him to have this opportunity,” says Schiano. “Syracuse University is getting both a dynamic coach and a great addition to their community. I’m elated for Fran and his whole family.”
Before Rutgers, Brown was co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach at Temple. While there, the defensive unit was nationally ranked in red zone defense, sacks, defensive touchdowns, tackles-for-loss and fumbles recovered. At Temple, Brown recruited or coached five players who went on to play in the NFL, including three draft picks: Harrison Hand (fifth round, Minnesota Vikings), Shaun Bradley (sixth round, Philadelphia Eagles) and Chapelle Russell (seventh round, Tampa Bay).
Brown has also recruited and worked with future NFL players, such as Sean Chandler, P.J. Walker, Hasson Reddick, Jullian Taylor, Sharif Finch, Jacob Martin and Raquell Armstead.
At Baylor, Brown served as the assistant head coach/defensive backs coach. While in Waco, he helped turn the program around from a 1-11 season in 2017 to a 7-6 mark the following year, which culminated in a Texas Bowl victory.
Brown grew up in Camden, New Jersey, and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Western Carolina University. Brown and his wife, Teara, have two sons, Fran Jr. and Brayden, and a daughter, Ivy Ann.
Brown takes over a Syracuse program rich with tradition, which will play in its second-consecutive bowl game later this season. The Orange has won 743 games in its history, which ranks 23rd all-time among current FBS teams, boasts one national championship, a Heisman Trophy winner and five conference titles.
Fans can show their support for the Orange by joining Orange United or Athletes Who Care, giving to the ’Cuse Athletics Fund and making 2024 season ticket deposits, which are available now at Cuse.com/Tickets, for fans to be part of the next era of Syracuse football.