North Carolina A&T officially introduced Vincent Brown as the 22nd head football coach last Monday. Brown will lead the Aggies into a new era as North Carolina A&T joins the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) next season after just two seasons in the Big South conference.
The Aggies may be new to the conference, but Brown is familiar with the landscape of the CAA after spending the last four seasons as the defensive coordinator at William & Mary under head coach Mike London. Over four seasons with the Tribe; Brown has served as the defensive coordinator, linebackers coach, & associate head coach. In 2022, Brown played a major role in helping William & Mary win a share of the regular season conference title and reach the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs.
Brown also served as the defensive coordinator at Howard (2017-18) and linebacker coach at Richmond (2008-09) under London. The Spiders won the 2008 CAA conference championship and ended the season by winning the FCS National Championship with a 24-7 win over Montana. He spoke with Zach McKinnell from The Bluebloods about the impact that Mike London had on his career and what it will be like to face London in the CAA moving forward.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity to be with Coach (Mike) London,” said new North Carolina A&T head coach Vincent Brown. “He’s a great mentor, great friend, a great coach… I love him. He’s like a brother. It will be interesting (to face him as a competitor), but I’m looking forward to it.”
Throughout his career Brown has developed some of the best talent at the FCS level on the defensive side of the ball. William & Mary LB John Pius was a Buck Buchanan Award finalist this season after being named the 2022 CAA Defensive Player of the Year, while William & Mary CB Jalen Jones was named the CAA’s Defensive Rookie of the Year this season. Brown has high expectations for his defenses, but he is confident the Aggies have plenty of defensive talent entering the 2022 season.
“They do a lot of things philosophically very similar to what we (William & Mary) did, which is play a lot of man coverage and let those guys up front get after the quarterback,” said Brown about the North Carolina A&T defensive scheme. “We structured things a little bit differently, but from a philosophical standpoint we were very, very similar. That’s exciting because you have guys that know how to play press man and you have defensive lineman that know what it is to get up the field and beat blocks and attack the quarterback.”
Brown was a 2nd round pick in the 1988 NFL Draft of the New England Patriots and finished his career as a three-time All-Pro linebacker for the Patriots. He played for Mississippi Valley State and was a three-time All-Conference selection for the Delta Devils. Brown earned Kodak All-American honors as a senior in 1987, which followed up his Associated Press All-American season as a junior. He was a sophomore when Mississippi Valley State played North Carolina A&T in 1986, which ended with a 20-14 win for the Aggies.
“It was very appealing because I’ve had opportunities to talk to some other folks, some HBCUs and some PWIs, and graciously declined some of those opportunities because I just didn’t feel like they’d be the right fit, but this one is really special and it’s interesting,” said Brown about the opportunity to step back into HBCU football.
“When I was in school we played A&T and I’ve met a lot of the alumni that were here when I was playing and we talked about the battle that we had here and back in Itta Bena. It’s just a tremendous opportunity and a great environment to be in a program where football is very important to them… We want to be successful and we want to win, but at the same time our mission is to graduate these young men, educate them, make sure they get their degrees and to compete… Compete for championships.”
North Carolina A&T was one game away from winning their first Big South championship this past season and first conference championship since 2019, which was the Aggies last season in the MEAC. The competition level will increase with the move to the CAA next season, but Brown made it clear that the Aggies expect to win immediately and that the expectation remains the same regardless of the opponent on the schedule.
“We’re going to build a tough, competitive, strong, determined team that will fight to the end,” said Brown about the expectations at North Carolina A&T. “I have never gone into a game not thinking that we can win the game. I’ve played FBS programs when we were at the FCS level… I’ve never gone into a game with the mindset that we couldn’t win and that’s certainly going to be the case here. Every game we’re going to go into, we are going to play to win, and we are going to expect to win.”
North Carolina A&T opens the 2023 season on the road against UAB on August 31 in Birmingham, AL before hosting North Carolina Central in the Aggie-Eagle Classic in Week 2 in Greensboro.
You can listen to the full interview with North Carolina A&T head coach Vincent Brown on all podcast streaming platforms or watch the interview on our YouTube channel below.