Camden, NJ Native New Syracuse University Football Coach
Everyone loves an inspirational "American Success Story", it gives us hope and motivation to never give up. This week, a graduate of Camden High School gets to add another chapter to his story of overcoming incredible adversity and working his way to becoming the Head Coach of a major College Football Program.
On Tuesday Night, Syracuse University announced they are hiring Fran Brown as the next Head Coach of their Football Program. Brown has been rising up the ladders of the College Football Coaching world for the last 12 years and most recently working as the Defensive Backs Coach for the Defending National Champion University of Georgia Football team.
The 41-year-old Football Coach's story began with very humble beginnings when his mom had him when she was 13 years old and the two of them moved multiple times around Camden so Brown spent most of his childhood without a true home or a father. For Brown, Football became his outlet from the difficulties of his life, excelling on the field at Camden High School.
But Brown couldn't outrun the tribulations of his personal life after he was held back his senior year and later attended Hudson Valley Community College in pursuit of his dreams of playing in the NFL. When his mom got sick in 2001, he had to leave college to return home and take care of her, another setback for Brown's football journey. In spite of the obstacles life had thrown his way, the biggest opportunity of his life was just around the corner thanks to his perseverance.
When Brown returned to playing football at Hudson Valley Community College, some next-level football programs started to take notice but one man's visit to Camden changed the trajectory of his life. Matt Rhule was coaching Special Teams and Linebackers along with serving as Assistant Head Coach at Western Carolina, his visit to recruit Fran Brown laid the groundwork for his football future.
At Western Carolina, Brown became a Team Captain and as a Cornerback was named First Team All-Southern Conference, earning his Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice in 2006. Rhule's work at Western Carolina earned him a job on the University of Temple Coaching Staff while Brown earned an invitation as an Undrafted Free Agent to Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp. After two seasons of trying to become a full-time NFL Player, the Bengals would cut him and his playing career was abruptly over.
After his NFL career was over, Brown was working three jobs before his first coaching opportunity presented itself. Before joining the Paul VI High School Football Coaching Staff, Brown was working as a manager of the Environmental Services at the University of Pennsylvania, a Part-Time Trainer for Youth Football players, along a substitute teacher.
Thanks to his long-standing relationship with Matt Rhule, he started working as the Director of Internal Operations for Temple Football in 2011. Brown was named Defensive Backs Coach for Temple in 2013 and became one of the top recruiters in College Football, famous for recruiting future NFL players such as Harrison Hand (Minnesota Vikings), Shaun Bradley (Philadelphia Eagles), Sean Chandler (New York Giants), and Sam Franklin (Carolina Panthers).
Brown's leadership skills as a Coach and Recruiting Reputation earned him jobs working under University of Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano for two seasons before joining the Powerhouse Bulldogs College Football Program in Athens, Georgia. With high recommendations from top College Football Head Coaches Matt Rhule, Greg Schiano, and Kirby Smart, the Syracuse Football Program would have been crazy to not hire Fran Brown.
This New Jersey man is now given the task of not just being the Head Football Coach at Syracuse University, but also resurrecting a College Football program that has only had five winning seasons in the last 20 years. Syracuse had 28 winning seasons in 40 years from 1960 to 1999 and is in the top 25 Winningest College Football Programs in Division 1 FBS History with 743.
Brown's entire life has been preparing him for this unique opportunity and with everything he has overcome in his life, being Head Coach at Syracuse University will just be another chapter of the inspirational story that is being written of this man from Camden, New Jersey. Don't be surprised if you see Fran Brown recruiting in South Jersey, he has been the bridge for many young men from High Schools to attend Division 1 Universities on Football Scholarships.
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Gallery Credit: Joshua Hennig/Townsquare Media