Brown, the offensive coordinator, helped Valdosta State win the NCAA Division II national championship in 2012 as his offense averaged 469 yards and produced 40 points per game. A former Georgia Tech quarterback whose coaching career began at Troy as he helped the Trojans win the 2006 Sun Belt Conference championship, Brown has been run record-shattering offenses as the coordinator at Henderson State (2008) and Southwest Baptist (2007) before coaching at Valdosta from 2009-12.
Boone will run the Demons’ defense following seven impressive seasons as defensive coordinator helping Tennessee-Martin and Jacksonville State win Ohio Valley Conference titles. He coached with Thomas at Nicholls State in 2002-03 when the Colonels played for the 2003 Southland title, and since helped UT-Martin win the OVC in 2006 and Jacksonville State to the 2011 league co-championship.
“We’re very fortunate to have two rising stars in the coaching profession here at Northwestern State. They’re very qualified coaches, great men, good dads and it’s very exciting to consider what they will bring to our football program and the NSU family,” said Thomas.
Their hirings are subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System, which includes NSU.
“I’ve known Jay for a long time and we coached together at Nicholls,” said Boone. “We had a good time there, won some ball games. I think a lot of Coach Thomas. I know what kind of person he is. That’s why I’m here.”
In his seven seasons as defensive coordinator at UT-Martin and Jacksonville State, Boone’s teams were a combined 45-34. His 2006 defense at UT-Martin ranked sixth in the nation and his 2010 unit was 12th nationally in total defense while leading the OVC in that stat and pass defense, fewest first downs allowed and third-down defenses. UTM had the best five-year record (32-25) in the history of the school and reached the FCS playoffs in 2006 with a No. 13 ranking as Boone served as assistant head coach, academic coordinator and coached linebackers and the secondary.
In two years at Jacksonville State, Boone helped the Gamecocks to an 11-5 OVC record and 13-9 overall. His 2012 defense led the league in red zone defense and in 2011 topped the OVC in interceptions. He was linebackers coach at Nicholls in 2002-03 when Thomas was defensive coordinator, and also has coached at UAB, Southern Mississippi, Arkansas-Monticello, East Central Community College and Pearl River CC along with some high school experience.
Brown, 32, steered Valdosta State to a No. 13 national ranking in total offense and No. 9 in scoring last season as the Blazers led the rugged Gulf South Conference in both offensive statistics. Thomas said the Demons’ scheme will resemble the multi-faceted approach used by Clemson. Brown has coaching roots under Tony Franklin, who ran explosive offenses at Troy and last season at Louisiana Tech.
“We’re going to whip it around. We’re going to attempt to attack in both phases,” said Brown. “If we can get it rolling, it’s an exciting brand to watch.”
As offensive coordinator at Southwest Baptist in 2007, Brown’s players set 29 school records, six Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association marks and two national records.
Flanker Nick Smart broke the NCAA all-divisoins record with 143 receptions.
A year later at Henderson State, Brown was the offensive coordinator as the Reddies ranked third in Division II in passing (averaging 330 yards) and 18th in total offense (448 yards per game). Henderson State set 12 school records including points per game (32.8) and yards per game.
More coaching staff appointments will be announced shortly, Thomas said.
The Demons will travel to Missouri St. Aug. 29. for the season opner.