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Neal Brown has career options to weigh but pieces in place for him to return to Kentucky


It looks like Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown, a former Boyle County High School three-sport standout, has options to weigh after his offense averaged 501 yards and 37.8 points per game and ranked among the nation’s top 15 offenses last season.

He’s been the No. 1 target for new UK coach Mark Stoops as an offensive coordinator. Stoops made it clear at his introductory press conference that he planned to have a wide-open offense. Remember that Mike Leach was the first offensive coordinator that Bob Stoops hired at Oklahoma. Also don’t forget that Mike Stoops hired Sonny Dykes to run his offense when he was head coach at Arizona. So it is easy to see why Mark Stoops would like a coordinator such as Brown based on the success his brothers had with Leach and Dykes.

Brown also would bring youth to the staff.  He’s 32. Stoops is only 45 and just named D.J. Eliot, 36, as his defensive coordinator. That’s  a radical change from the age range of the coaches Joker Phillips had on his staff last year. Not saying that younger is always better, but younger coaches can relate to players in way that those of us 50 and older cannot.

Brown would also give Stoops and UK a recruiting connection in Texas since that is where he has primarily recruited the last three years. He also has ties to the South through his time at Troy.

However, all those reasons have also made Brown a viable candidate for the head coaching job at Southern Mississippi, a team that went 0-12 last year.

I’m not sure if Brown would make more as a head coach or as the offensive coordinator at UK. But I’m told any contractual concerns his agent had with Kentucky have all been resolved.

Now it comes down to will the Southern Miss head job be offered and what will the offer be. Sources indicate Brown likely will have an answer from Southern Miss by Saturday and that Stoops will have an answer from Brown no later than Sunday morning.

Coming to UK would bring Brown and his family back home. It also likely would bring two former Wildcats, Chad Scott and John Schlarman , with him to coach running backs and offensive line. But he would also likely take both with him to Southern Miss, or try to take them.

What will happen? Still not sure, but believe I might be leaning a bit more today to thinking he will be at UK next year. You have to admire Stoops’ patience in this process with Brown and that won’t be lost on Brown. I think the opportunity to come home will also be hard to pass up.

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  1. WeRuk

    Welcome Home Neal, Welcome Home

    1. steve from Dayton

      If we can pull this off, it would be great! How hard it must be for both coaches to wait for offers and decisions from other schools!

      We have to remember Neal Brown was mentioned as a possibility for the Kentucky job. He has to weigh all his options. Who else is waiting in the wings if Brown doesn’t pan out?

  2. Larry Pup

    Good insight to ponder Larry V. Keep the info. coming.

  3. Sean

    Would love to see Brown back at UK even if it is short lived.

  4. UK 24 7

    What about Louisiana Tech, Arkansas State and Cincinnati? Is Southern Miss the only HC position he’s considering?

  5. Larry T Clemons

    Sure seems like the right Fit ,with the right Men…almost to good to be true…

  6. Gary Dearborn

    Great work Larry!! This is exciting information!! Do know anything about Chuck Smith?Will he stay on the college level?

    1. larryvaught

      Hoping Chuck is going to be named head coach at Morehead. Think it would be great for him and Morehead. No idea if any coaches will stay, but doubt it. And Pacman, as much as I would love Neal at UK for a lot of reasons, I just want him to do what is best for him and his family. Me, I think that is at UK. But he tends to know a bit more about football than me

  7. Pacman

    Larry, use your influence as multiple time KY Sportswriter of the Year, Hall of Famer and Danville native and bring him home to Central Ky. Also, like Gary asked above have you heard about any other former UK coaches landing jobs except Joker?

  8. Bill

    Southern Miss is interviewing at least 6 candidates today and tomorrow in New Orleans.I read Brown is in the first group of 3. I have no idea how this will play out but they reportedly are looking for a good “fit.” (Isn’t everyone.) The first 3 should have an idea of how attractive the position is for them after today. We, as fans, will just have to have patience. It’s not as tough as going through these interviews and having to make a life-changing decision with time-lines breathing down your collar. We’ll know soon enough.

  9. LindaS

    Sorry, gonna do a little self promotion…if anyone is in Lexington West, (Louisville) I will be at Jeffersontown High School’s Holiday Bazaar selling UK jewelry and photography. Stop bye and see me! Saturday, Dec. 8, 9 AM-3 PM I think things are looking up for you guys and the football program, I am so happy for y’all. Go Cats! Evil twin sister has been banished for the rest of the weekend. Livin’ Blue & Lovin’ It!

  10. TrueBlueJohn

    It would be great if all this works out for the Cats. I think that Neal Brown would be a perfect fit for the program, and if he does get Chad Scott and John Schlarman to come with him, the staff would have a definite Kentucky flavor to it. We expect the defense to be much improved with Stoops and Eliot on board, and Brown as the OC, the offense has to be better. A lot of times, it seemed that the opponents knew what play we were calling, the offense was that predictable.

  11. Andy P

    Larry, a poster on the Cats Illustrated board who works at a hotel down town (probably the old Radison) says there is a room reserved for Neal Brown on Sunday night. Mark Stoops is staying in a condo at the same hotel and so is DJ Eliot. Look for the announcement on Monday that Neal Brown is our new OC.

    1. WeRuk

      In this situation an alias would be used instead of Browns name. Someone on that message board also said Neil Browns wife was already in town looking at horse farms,so their is that

      1. UKFAN197TONE

        People can use an alias if they want, if he’s not wearing a mask…people are going to know who he is.

    2. larryvaught

      Hotel reservation could be accurate. but announcement is not a done deal quite yet

    3. Lance

      Andy P did the same guy tell you he saw Brown’s wife looking at houses in Lexington? Did he also tell you Brown’s father owns a horse in Lexington? I just want to be sure all the usual bases are covered on this kind of comment.

  12. Ira

    I seen where Neal Brown was supposed to be in town Sunday to talk with Mark Stoops again but I wasn’t getting my hopes up.

    Love to have him, but like previous article says and this one he does have options and I would explore them fully as well.

    1. WeRuk

      Curious where you saw he was going to be in town Sunday to talk to Stoops?

  13. Touchdown brown

    He will be here sunday

  14. Wes

    Poster say on catsillustrated that Brown is hired!!

    1. larryvaught

      Can’t say that is not true about Brown, but my sources tell me it is not totally done yet. Final decision likely in the morning

  15. Wes

    What is the hold up?

  16. Bud

    Getting Neal Brown would be a Christmas gift early. Stoops has caused so much excitement about UK football. Even during baketball season. Larry you’re right UK is a football school, they just didn;t know it yet. If Brown does come with the Boyle County connections I hope you beat KSR to tne news.

    1. larryvaught

      Bud, I’m not worried about scooping sources that have direct ties to UK. I will just be happy for Neal and UK football if it happens. My joy will come from knowing UK is getting a great guy and Neal is getting to see a dream come true. Of course, he’s also dreamed of becoming a head coach and that could happen today, too

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