New University of Central Arkansas coach Nathan Brown was asked if when he arrived on campus in 2005, if he envisioned being the head coach for the Bears one day.
"Actually yes," he said Monday at his introductory news conference as the successor to Steve Campbell, who left last week for South Alabama. ‘This is home. This not a stepping stone for me. This is a destination. I’m ready to be a head coach but when I met with (athletic director) Brad Teague, I didn’t want this to be the convenient hire but the right hire.
"This is something I have been preparing for for a long time. It’s not something I am taking lightly."
"I knew when we hired him on staff that someday he would be a Division I head coach; what he presented to me Friday and Saturday convinced me that time is now."
"I don’t think I’ve slept four hours since Friday," he said.,
Teague, with clearance to hire from President Houston Davis and the board of trustees, that he decided to promote Brown Saturday afternoon after meeting with him both Friday and Saturday. He was introduced at the UCA-Little Rock basketball game Saturday night.
Teague said, just as with Campbell, Brown will have a yearly salary of $200,000 with a four-year contract, payable with university and state funds.
Brown said , "I wanted to make sure this was something I didn’t take lightly, that I had a vision and a process."
His vision includes: 1. to graduate every player; 2. to win championships ("and not just Southland Conference championships but national championships; we are itching for a national championship here"); 3. community involvement that reflects positively on the university; 4. to win home games; 5. to beat Football Bowl Championship programs like Tulsa, Oklahoma State and Arkansas State. "We are going to play bigtime programs."
In his presentation before a room full of administrators and supports at Wingo Hall, Brown outlined the core values he wants for his program:
1. Service: "I want selflessness and that’s something that happens with service."
2. Sacrifice: "For teammates, coaches and community."
3. Respect: "This day and and age it’s important that 18- to 20-year olds respect the people around them and we are going to put our best foot forward to represent this university."
He said much of the last two days has been formulating a staff. Many on the current staff, including defensive coordinator Greg Stewart, went with Campbell to South Alabama. He said, among the current staff, Ryan Howard, Gunnar Boykin and Tony Davis will remain at UCA. Rejoining the UCA staff will be UCA Sports Hall of Famer Brooks Hollingsworth, the offensive line coach at Conway High, who will begin his fourth tour of duty as a UCA assistant.
He said has made strides to hire a defensive coordinator.
As she spoke, he said assistants were recruiting in Houston, Texas, Mississippi and Florida.
"We need to expand our footprint," he said. "The priority is offensive and defensive linemen. To win big games, you have to win the trenches. You have to have big guys who can control the line of scrimmage. Skill guys are not a problem when you recruit the South. But to win playoff games and games in December, we need physical guys — people who are power lifters and wrestlers."
Brown said he has been part, in some manner as a player or coach, in every step of the Division I process. The Bears have won at a 77 percent clip over the last 11 years.
"That’s not good enough," he said. "We have as deep and talented team as we’ve ever had. With a few more pieces, we are going to build on what was the No. 3-ranked team in the country. I think this is a sleeping giant. There is no reason we can’t be among the North Dakota States, the Georgia Southerns and the Boise States of the world.
"I know this state bleeds red but I think it is ready to have a mix in it."
Brown, 31, is just the fifth youngest head football coach at UCA.
"I looked at the mirror the other day and two grey hairs popped out," he said.