Despite heavy speculation by numerous media outlets, Yale may not be close to naming its next head football coach.
Both the Hartford Courant and New Haven Register reported on Monday afternoon that University of Connecticut defensive coordinator Don Brown was expected to take the job left vacant by former head coach Tom Williams, who resigned last month following reports that he had overstated his record as a Rhodes Scholarship candidate.
However, by late Monday night, two sources familiar with the search process independently confirmed that Brown has withdrawn his name from consideration, forcing the Bulldogs to continue the search for the 34th head coach of the football program. The New Haven Register reported that Yale offered the job to Brown before he turned it down. Neither Yale Director of Athletics Tom Beckett nor Brown could be reached for comment.
The 56-year-old Massachusetts native was previously the defensive coordinator at Yale under former head coach and Hall of Famer Carm Cozza from 1987 to 1992. In 1989, the Bulldogs won a share of the Ivy League Championship, surrendering an average of 17 points a game.
Brown was considered a strong contender for the Yale job due to his previous head coaching experiences — 12 seasons as head coach at Plymouth State, Northeastern and the University of Massachusetts, where he compiled a 95–45 career record. He had been considered a favorite for the Yale job in 2009, when Jack Siedlecki retired as the 32nd head coach of the program. Brown decided to remain at UMass, however, and Williams instead won the job.
With Brown now out of contention, Yale will likely consider the three other candidates who are known to have interviewed to fill the vacancy: Georgetown head coach Kevin Kelly, Lehigh offensive coordinator Dave Cecchini and former Yale assistant coach — and current Harvard assistant — Tony Reno. According to a Jan. 7 report on the National Football League’s website, Yale has also reached out to former UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell.
If Brown had been hired, it would have been his third coaching change in just four years. He left UMass in 2009 to become the defensive coordinator for Maryland. But when longtime Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen was fired in 2010, Brown left the school to take his current position at UConn.
In 1992, Brown was named the interim head coach for the Yale baseball team, leading the Bulldogs to a 26–10 record that season.