MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Just as Alabama State had removed the "interim" tag from head coach Donald Hill-Eley, a member of his coaching staff is now moving on.
Hornets secondary coach Grady Brown will be joining the Louisville Cardinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2018. Brown will take up the position of defensive assistant and recruiting coordinator under head coach Bobby Petrino.
Petrino seemed to be especially impressed with Brown's ability to recruit and develop players.
"Hiring Grady Brown is an excellent addition to our defensive staff," said Petrino. "A detailed technician, Brown is a bright, young football coach who boasts a lot of experience coaching. He does an excellent job in terms of teaching the players, and is a proven recruiter, which will be a tremendous asset in enhancing the talent in our program."
Brown will join a familiar face to him on the Cardinals coaching staff as he will be reunited with Louisville secondary coach Lorenzo Ward. The two previously coached together at South Carolina and Ward has tremendous confidence in Petrino's latest hire.
"Grady Brown is one of the most professional and knowledgeable coaches I've had the opportunity to be around," said Ward. "An outstanding teacher, Brown is very detailed in his instruction, which will be a tremendous benefit to our players."
While at South Carolina from 2012-2015, Brown helped coach a defense that finished in the top-25 in scoring defense and total defense. In 2012, the Gamecock defense finished 11th in the country in total yards per game and was 13th in scoring defense allowing barely over 18 points per game.
Brown was in his second stint at Alabama State. His first stint began in the early 2000s, when he coached the secondary. In 2003, ASU's defense ranked seventh in the Football Championship Subdivision in both turnovers gained and interceptions. That Hornet defense also finished ninth in rushing defense in the FCS.
Brown was well-traveled, also making coaching stops at Alabama A&M, Texas Southern, LSU, Southern Miss and South Carolina before returning to Alabama State in 2017. After a brief stop at Texas Southern, Brown went on to coach successful defenses and even coached a few players that have landed on NFL teams in recent years. Players like Patrick Peterson, a pro-bowl cornerback for the Arizona Cardinals, and D.J. Swearinger who recently played with the Washington Redskins in 2017-2018.
This past season at Alabama State, the defense only allowed 18 points per game, and the team ended the season winning five out of its last six games allowing more than 16 points just once.