Veteran coach Crowton reaches deal to handle Maryland offense

LSU coordinator has extensive experience in college, NFL

January 13, 2011|By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland has reached an agreement in principle for LSU's Gary Crowton – a longtime offensive coordinator in college and the NFL – to oversee new head coach Randy Edsall's offense, according to a source with knowledge of the process.

Contract terms were being finalized Thursday afternoon.

Crowton would become a key figure in the program being rebuilt by Edsall, who replaced Ralph Friedgen and was introduced Jan. 3. Edsall's first big hiring decision was to retain Don Brown as defensive coordinator. Brown, the former Massachusetts head coach, will be entering his third season at Maryland.

Like Brown, the Utah-born Crowton, 53, is a former head coach — with Louisiana Tech and BYU — giving Maryland a veteran staff.

Crowton and Edsall served as assistants together at Boston College in the early 1990s. Crowton was quarterbacks coach and Edsall was defensive backs coach.

Word of the expected hire was just beginning to filter out to Maryland players and their families, some of whom had heard about Crowton's reputation for developing quarterbacks. Crowton has coached seven quarterbacks selected in the NFL draft, according to LSU's Web site.

LSU hired Crowton — a former Colorado State quarterback — in 2007 from Oregon, where he had been offensive coordinator. He was BYU's head coach during 2001-04 after serving as offensive coordinator for the NFL's Chicago Bears.

Crowton's LSU offense averaged more than 30 points a game in 2007 and 2008. This season, the Tigers, under Les Miles and Crowton, were statistically ranked 11th of 12 Southeastern Conference teams in total offense and ninth in scoring offense.

Crowton was not available for comment while contract details were worked out.

Last season, Maryland ran a modified West Coast offense under former offensive coordinator James Franklin, now Vanderbilt's head coach. Franklin departed Maryland shortly before Friedgen was officially ousted as Maryland's coach.

Crowton inherits an offense led this season by Danny O'Brien, who was recently named to the Freshman All-America Team by the Football Writers Association of America. O'Brien was the Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year.

Crowton's resignation was announced Thursday by LSU, which did not indicate where he was going.

Vanderbilt hires former Terps coaches

James Franklin, who left his position as offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting at Maryland to become head coach at Vanderbilt, has hired several former Terps assistants to his staff.

John Donovan, running backs coach at Maryland and play caller during the Terps' 51-20 Military Bowl victory over East Carolina, will serve as offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Vanderbilt. Another former Maryland assistant, Charles Bankins, will double as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator. Franklin also hired veteran Maryland football strength director Dwight Galt in the same capacity with the Commodores and former Maryland football operations director Jemal Griffin as the program's chief of staff.

Brattan retained

Offensive line coach Tom Brattan will be retained on Edsall's staff, Maryland announced Thursday. Brattan has been with the Terps for 10 years and is the third coach to be retained by Edsall after Friedgen's departure.

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

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