Badgers turn to the NFL for their new RBs coach

Wisconsin has its new running backs coach.

As first reported by Clarence Hill Jr of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Badgers have tabbed former Dallas Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown as John Settle’s replacement.

“Gary is really an impressive person. Everyone I know that has worked with Gary speaks very highly of him and has loved working with him,” coach Paul Chryst said in a press release from UW. “I look forward to our staff being able to work with him, and I’m really excited that our players will get to learn from him. He brings great experience at both the collegiate and professional level and is a heck of a good football coach.”

Brown had been an NFL coach with Cleveland (2009-2012) and Dallas (2013-2019) before being sidelined last season while battling cancer for a second time, according to Hill. During his tenure with the Cowboys, he oversaw the development of Pro Bowl backs DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott.

“I’m excited about being part of the Badger family because of the tradition that’s been established over the years,” Brown said in the release from UW. “They’re one of the best programs in the Big Ten, and obviously they like to run the ball and run it very well. As a running backs coach, that certainly appealed to me. They’ve had a long line of great, great tailbacks and it’s an honor for me to contribute to carrying on that tradition.

“If you’re a running back guy, you’re very aware of what they’re doing at Wisconsin and you study their tape and their backs. In my work in the NFL, we’ve scouted them all. I’ve always been very impressed with how those guys go about their business and how they leave Wisconsin as truly complete tailbacks.”

Prior to serving in the NFL, Brown spent 2008 at Rutgers as its running backs coach. He got his college coaching career started at Lycoming College in his hometown of Williamsport, Penn. He was also the offensive coordinator at Susquehanna University for two years before joining the Scarlet Knights.

Brown played in the NFL for eight seasons after being drafted in the eighth round of the 1991 draft out of Penn State. He rushed for 1,000 yards twice in his career, once with Houston and once with the New York Giants.

The 51-year-old Brown has some talented but largely inexperienced backs to work with at Wisconsin. The Badgers return leading rusher Jalen Berger but he’s carried all of 60 times in his career. Wisconsin also brings in three new running backs as part of its 2021 recruiting class.

The Badgers will open spring practice on Tuesday.