Syracuse hires Georgia assistant Fran Brown as football coach

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse hired Georgia defensive backs coach Fran Brown as its head coach on Tuesday, giving the Orange a highly regarded recruiter with roots in the Northeast.

The 41-year-old Brown, a native of Camden, New Jersey, spent the past two seasons with Georgia but has never been a head coach. He was part of a national championship team last season, and the Bulldogs are preparing for a third straight SEC championship game appearance Saturday against Alabama.

"I am incredibly proud to be leading Syracuse Football at a university with a rich and storied tradition of academic and athletic excellence," Brown said in a statement. "Syracuse football has outstanding talent, great facilities and passionate alumni. The success of the players is my No. 1 priority -- on and off the field."

Dino Babers was fired by Syracuse nine days ago, one game short of completing his eighth season as the Orange's coach and with one year left on his contract. He went 41-55 overall and 20-45 in the ACC.

Brown is known as one of the country's top recruiters, among the criteria mentioned by Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack as necessary qualities in Orange's next coach.

"Fran has clearly articulated a vision for the future of our football program, and he is a powerhouse recruiter with deep ties to the geographies from where we need to draw consistently," Wildhack said. "Fran has had tremendous success recruiting to a variety of programs -- in the South, Southwest and Northeast, and I have no doubt he will bring that track record here to Syracuse."

Before joining coach Kirby Smart's staff at Georgia, Brown spent most of his career in the Northeast at Temple and Rutgers. He also spent two years at Baylor working for Matt Rhule, who is now at Nebraska.

Brown has coached a number of players to conference and national honors, including Georgia safety Malaki Starks, a finalist this year for the Nagurski Trophy, given to the country's best defensive player.

A graduate of Western Carolina, Brown began his coaching career in 2011 at Temple as director of internal operations. He was named defensive backs coach in 2013 and promoted to assistant head coach in 2016.