SAN ANTONIO — Outside of his wife and family, Kevin Brown committed most of the past five years to UTSA football. Hired as the Roadrunners’ tight ends coach in December 2010, less than nine months before UTSA played its first game in history, Brown was promoted to offensive coordinator in February 2012.
Brown relished the opportunity to help build the foundation for one of college football’s newest FBS programs and work with Larry Coker, who led Miami to the 2001 national championship.
But Brown’s tenure at UTSA ended on Tuesday when he was fired by Coker, three days after the Roadrunners finished 3-9 overall and 3-5 in Conference USA. It was the worst season in the short history of the program.
Brown, 35, was on a recruiting trip when Coker called him back to San Antonio earlier in the week. By Tuesday afternoon, Brown was out of a job after meeting with Coker.
Brown has sat at home the past two days, pondering his future and not quite sure what to do with all the time he has now.
“I’ve had a lot of calls and texts from people telling me to hang in there, and ‘what’s your next move?’” Brown said. “I’ve told a handful of people it’s not something that you can just shut off, when about every second of every day you’ve pretty much spent on making that program better, how you can improve it. Recruiting never stops.”
A passionate and emotional coach, Brown developed a close bond with UTSA and the players and coaches he worked with every day.
“At that place where it’s unique, and that’s why I love it so much, is that you got to build it from the ground up,” Brown said. “You put your staple on that program. We put our staple on that program. You felt like you had a big part in it.
“When all of a sudden after five years you’re fired, it’s not something you just say, ‘All right, well, on to the next thing.’ You’ve invested so much. You care about the program. You care about the people there. You care about the players. It takes some time to think about it.”
UTSA went 8-4 and 7-5 in Brown’s first two seasons as offensive coordinator but the Roadrunners have struggled the past two years, finishing 4-8 in 2014 before winning only three games this fall.
The UTSA offense ranks near the bottom among the 128 FBS schools heading into the final week of college football’s regular season. It ranks 99th in total offense (362.3 average) and is tied for 104th in scoring offense (22.6).
All three of the Roadrunners’ victories this season were against teams with losing records and UTSA won only one game at home. The Roadrunners lost to Middle Tennessee 42-7 in their finale last Saturday at the Alamodome. After winning its last five games in 2013 to finish 7-5, UTSA has gone 7-17 overall the past two seasons.
Hampered by injuries at quarterback, the offense has struggled with inefficiency and inexperience since Eric Soza completed his eligibility in 2013. The Roadrunners’ first starting quarterback and a first-rate leader, Soza played at UTSA for three seasons.
“I’m not going to make excuses,” Brown said. “That’s why you recruit and develop depth. Trust me, I’ve thought about that many times the last couple of years, just what if everybody had stayed healthy. But that’s football. Everybody across the country is facing it. People get hurt and the next guy has got to step up.
“The thing that’s different from our perspective is when you have a start-up program, you’re not going to have the depth that you wish you had. On top of that, when you’re playing the people that we play early (in non-conference), you can get banged up a little bit. It sticks in your head. What if we could have stayed healthy? After you get let go, you think about all that stuff.”
Despite his firing, Brown said he still thinks highly of Coker.
“Coach Coker has been first class in everything he’s done, from the second he hired me to the second he let me go,” Brown said. “He has always encouraged me because he’s been an offensive coordinator. He’s had tough times. Coach has been great to me.”
Brown told his quarterbacks of his firing Tuesday, after meeting with Coker.
“It was tough and I was still a little bit in shock when I talked to them,” Brown said. “When you’ve taken the time to scout them and recruit them and built a relationship with them, it’s tough to say goodbye. That’s what coaching comes down to, building relationships. It’s not just a job.”
A TCU graduate, Brown was an assistant coach at Texas State for four seasons (2007-10) before he joined Coker’s staff. He grew up in Waco and was a wide receiver at TCU, where he also earned a master’s degree.