USC athletics director Ray Tanner Wednesday received approval from the board of trustees for the hiring of Thomas Brown as new running backs coach and a contract extension and increased compensation for offensive line coach Eric Wolford.
Brown comes to USC from Miami where he was the offensive coordinator and running backs coach. The former University of Georgia running back was a teammate of Gamecock offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon with the Bulldogs.
Brown received a contract worth 300-thousand dollars annually, plus incentives, that will run thru May 31st, 2020.
Brown will replace Pat Washington on the staff. Washington was the tight ends coach for all three seasons Will Muschamp has been at USC and is not being retained. Running backs coach Bobby Bentley will shift to tight ends according to Tanner.
Wolford, who just completed his second season on the staff, had his contact extended by two years and his outside compensation increased to 300-thousand dollars per year, a 100-thousand dollar annual increase.
Tanner said Wolford was not actively shopping for other job opportunities but other programs were showing interest in him and they wanted to make sure they retained his services.
Ray Tanner discusses football staff changes
Here’s the full release on Brown from USC athletic communications:
Thomas Brown has been hired as the running backs coach at the University of South Carolina, head football coach Will Muschamp announced today. Bobby Bentley will transition from running backs coach to tight ends coach for the 2019 season.
“Thomas is an accomplished running backs coach who has done a great job at multiple spots, including Wisconsin, Georgia and Miami,” said Coach Muschamp. “He’s an outstanding young football coach, having been a coordinator at Miami, and is an outstanding recruiter. We are excited to have him part of the Gamecock family.”
Brown has spent the past three seasons as the Miami Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator and running backs coach under head coach Mark Richt. This past season, the Canes rushed for 2,489 yards, an average of 5.2 yards per carry and 191.5 per game, while scoring 25 rushing touchdowns. In 2017, Travis Homer earned second-team All-ACC recognition despite taking over as starting running back five games into the season due to a season-ending injury to All-ACC junior Mark Walton. As a sophomore in 2016, Walton became just the 11th running back in Miami history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
Brown spent the 2015 campaign on Coach Richt’s staff at Georgia where he coached the Bulldog running backs. During Brown’s stint in Athens, Georgia rushed for 2,513 yards (194.3 yards per game), including 1,076 yards by Sony Michel.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” said Coach Brown. “I have great respect for Coach Muschamp – I’ve known him for a long time. Obviously, I’ve been around Coach (Bryan) McClendon. We played together at Georgia and worked together for a year at Georgia, and always talked about having the opportunity to get back on the same side together. This is a great place and I’m looking forward to it.”
Before arriving at Georgia, Brown coached Heisman Trophy runner-up Melvin Gordon at Wisconsin in 2014. Gordon posted the second-best season ever by a running back with 2,587 rushing yards and 32 total touchdowns. He and sophomore Corey Clement combined to run for 3,536 yards to break the single-season Football Bowl Subdivision record for rushing yards by teammates that had been set the year before by Gordon and James White (3,053 yards).
The Badgers posted the two most prolific rushing performances in the country in 2014 with a school-record 644 rushing yards vs. Bowling Green and 581 vs. Nebraska, and their average of 6.91 yards per rushing attempt ranked as the fourth-best mark in FBS history.
Before joining the Wisconsin staff, Brown served as the running backs coach at Marshall in 2013 and at UT Chattanooga in 2012. He spent the 2011 season as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Georgia.
At Marshall, Brown helped direct Conference USA’s second-ranked rushing offense which averaged 205.9 rushing yards per game (ranked 24th nationally). The Herd won the C-USA East Division title with a 7-1 record and defeated Maryland, 31-20, in the Military Bowl. Brown guided Essray Taliaferro to a season that saw him average 5.2 yards per carry and score 10 touchdowns while amassing 1,140 rushing yards. Marshall was one of just seven FBS teams to boast three running backs that rushed for at least 500 yards in 2013 – and was the lone program outside the Power Five conferences to accomplish the feat.
Born May 15, 1986 in Tucker, Ga., Brown starred at Tucker High School before enrolling at Georgia and helping the Bulldogs to the 2005 Southeastern Conference championship. He finished his career as the fifth-leading rusher in Georgia history with 2,646 career yards and led the Bulldogs in rushing in 2005 and 2006. For his career, Brown averaged 5.0 yards per carry and scored 25 touchdowns. He was elected by his teammates as the permanent offensive team captain in 2007.
He was selected in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons and spent the 2009 season with the Cleveland Browns before retiring to pursue coaching opportunities.
Brown earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communications from UGA. He and his wife, Jessica, have three children, Orlando, Tyson and Judah.