According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, Brown has become the frontrunner for the current UMass vacancy. The Minutemen (1-9) parted ways with Walt Bell less than two weeks ago and offensive coordinator Alex Miller has taken over in an interim capacity.
Brown, 66, is currently the defensive coordinator at Arizona. He assumed the position under Jedd Fisch after he was fired from Michigan in 2020 after five seasons.
Per Thamel, no official announcement is imminent and Brown will be with Arizona when the Wildcats take on Washington State on Friday night.
Sources: Arizona DC Don Brown has emerged as the top candidate for the head coaching job at UMass. No announcement is imminent. Arizona plays Washington State on Friday night.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) November 18, 2021
UMass might seem like a strange fit for Brown after his work over the last few years, but he has a unique history with the program and close-knit relationship with the state of Massachusetts.
Brown, a native of Spencer, Massachusetts, has had two previous stints with the Minutemen during his nearly 40 decades in college football. He first arrived at UMass in 1998 and served as the program’s defensive coordinator for two seasons.
After making the move to become the head coach at Northeastern in 2000, Brown returned to Amherst in 2004. He took over as head coach for the Minutemen for the next five seasons.
During his time at the helm, Brown led UMass to a 43-19 overall record. The highlight during his tenure came when the Minutemen advanced to the FCS Championship game in 2006.
Since the years when Brown was in charge, UMass football has taken a major dive. The Minutemen, now an FBS independent, have had just one winning season since Brown left in 2008 and have won just two games in the last three seasons.
Brown will be tasked with turning UMass football around and into a more formidable FBS program if he were to accept the job.
Given his experience in the area and familiarity with the school, it seems like he would be strong choice to take on the challenge.