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Football: Weis adds Brown, Powlus to staff

Joe Meixell | Monday, January 22, 2007

Notre Dame has named Corwin Brown its defensive coordinator and Ron Powlus its quarterbacks coach, coach Charlie Weis said Friday.

The contracts of former defensive coordinator Rick Minter and quarterbacks coach Peter Vaas were not renewed.

Brown was formerly the defensive backs coach for the New York Jets, and Powlus has served as Notre Dame’s director of personnel development for the last two years.

“When I got ready to make a couple of tweaks in our staff, when it came to the offensive side and my hiring of Ron, it didn’t take me very long to figure out what direction I wanted to go to find a guy to work with the quarterbacks,” Weis said. “Ron’s been with me now for the last two years. He’s done an outstanding job for me off the field, and he’s earned my trust.”

Brown came on the recommendation of some of Weis’ former NFL co-workers, including Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

“They said, ‘You should hire Corwin Brown,'” Weis said. “And all I know is if I can get recommendations – ringing recommendations – with one name from Parcells and Belichick and [Romeo] Crennel and [Al] Groh, and they all give you the same person, then I must be on the right track.”

Corwin is originally from the Chicago area and played safety for Michigan. He played for the Patriots from 1993-96 and the Jets from 1997-98, coinciding with Weis’ stints as an assistant with those programs.

“I’ve been around some good coaches,” Brown said. “And I used to always say to myself, ‘if I could be half as good as all of those guys, if I could be half as good, I’ll be okay.’ And I think that having the support of all those guys and those guys as mentors, I would like to think that I’ve learned something along the way.”

Statistically, Notre Dame’s defense has not been a team strength the past two years, finishing 75th in the NCAA in total defense in 2005 and 65th in 2006.

One of the team’s strengths, however, was its offense, led by quarterback Brady Quinn. 2006 backup Evan Sharply is expected to compete with top recruit Jimmy Clausen, who enrolled this January, and last year’s recruits Zach Frazer and Demetrius Jones.

Powlus hopes to use his experience as a Notre Dame quarterback and his job as director of player personnel to help quarterbacks adjust to what he calls the “attention” the position receives.

“It’s a competitive world,” Powlus said. “And if you’re proud of what you’re doing, if you’re proud of yourself and you’re proud of your school, it’s a lot of fun to walk out there wearing a gold helmet and being the guy in the center.”

Powlus started at quarterback for Notre Dame from 1994-97. He played professional football for three years, and spent time working in business before returning to Notre Dame to work with Weis.

Powlus has also been involved in the recruiting process, helping the Irish sign last year’s highly acclaimed recruiting class and what will likely be a top-10 class this year.

Both he and Brown were enthusiastic about joining the Notre Dame coaching staff.

“Being here at Notre Dame is a tremendous opportunity,” Brown said.