Washington State reportedly set to hire Ray Brown as cornerbacks coach, completing the Cougars’ on-field staff
Jan. 27, 2022 Updated Thu., Jan. 27, 2022 at 7:44 p.m.
Utah State cornerbacks coach Ray Brown walks the sideline before a game earlier this season. Washington State will reportedly hire Brown to fill the same position at the Pullman school, where he began his Division I coaching career in 2013. (Utah State Athletics)
PULLMAN – Ray Brown is coming back to where he began his Division I coaching career.
Washington State’s football program is reportedly planning to hire the former Utah State cornerbacks coach to fill the same position on the Cougars’ 2022 on-field staff, which will be completed with the addition.
ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported Brown’s expected hiring over Twitter on Thursday morning.
Brown broke into the D-I ranks in Pullman as a graduate assistant working with safeties under former coach Mike Leach in 2013. He helped mentor Deone Bucannon, an All-American and first-round pick in the NFL draft.
Utah State hired Brown last February. The Aggies compiled an 11-3 record during a breakthrough season, winning the Mountain West championship under first-year coach Blake Anderson. They topped WSU 26-23 in Week 1.
Their defense was one of the best among Group of Five teams. Utah State finished the year ranked first in fourth-down defense, 14th in takeaways and in the top 50 in scoring defense, red-zone defense and first-down defense.
The Cougars were similarly productive in those stat columns this season under defensive-minded coach Jake Dickert, who began assembling a new staff when he was promoted from acting to permanent coach Nov. 27. Just about two months later, he found the final piece.
Brown replaces Jordan Malone, who will presumably take over the Cougars’ safeties/nickels. Malone had supervised WSU’s cornerbacks on an interim basis throughout the second half of last season.
He worked as a defensive analyst before coach Nick Rolovich and four assistants – including cornerbacks coach John Richardson – were fired in mid-October.
Dickert confirmed earlier this month that Malone will remain an on-field staffer assisting with the Cougars’ secondary in some capacity.
“Jordan is going to give us some flexibility with our next hire, whether that’s corners for somebody else (a new coach) or if Jordan stays at corners, or if he moves to safeties/nickels,” Dickert said Jan. 11.
A coaching position in WSU’s defensive backfield opened up when veteran assistant Mark Banker stepped away from the profession this month after two seasons in charge of WSU’s safeties and nickels.
Brown made stops at four schools before agreeing to return to WSU. He served as a GA at Arizona State from 2014-15 after his one-year stay at WSU, then oversaw the DBs at FCS Abilene Christian for three seasons and tutored corners at Troy from 2019-20.
Brown was a four-year starter at cornerback for Division II East Central University in Oklahoma. He coached running backs at his alma mater for two years after graduating and spent 2012 as special teams coordinator/DBs coach at D-II Oklahoma Baptist.
Dickert seems to have made it a point to recruit coaches who have prior experience at WSU. Brown will be the fourth newly hired Cougars assistant with a background at the Pullman school. Offensive coordinator/QBs coach Eric Morris taught the Cougars’ inside receivers in 2012. Offensive line coach Clay McGuire held the same job at WSU from 2012-17. Receivers coach Joel Filani was an offensive quality control staffer in 2015.
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