Troy’s dedication impressed Brown in hiring process

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New Troy football coach Neal Brown always knew in the back of his mind that one day, he’d return to coach the football team that once made him the youngest offensive coordinator in the country.

And when athletic director John Hartwell told Brown just how dedicated the school would be to ensure that Brown’s stint was a successful one — including beginning construction of a north end zone stadium expansion and a $1.2 million pool for assistant coaching contracts — the deal was even sweeter.

“This was an attractive job for a lot of reasons,” Brown said Monday. “But to me, that really drove home that they were committed to getting this program back where it needs to be.”

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The $1.2 million allotment for assistant coach hiring is around a $300,000 increase from this past season’s budget and will be the largest in the Sun Belt Conference, Hartwell said.

“The salary pool is very attractive,” Brown said. “I really feel like we’ll be able to bring in a great staff that cares deeply about our players, that cares deeply about Troy University, that cares deeply about developing young men.”

Troy announced they would keep three assistants on staff from Larry Blakeney’s tenure: Kenny Edenfield, Shane Wasden and Sean Reagen.

Brown said he plans on calling offensive plays, but will “lean on” Edenfield, Wasden and Reagan as well.

As for a defensive coordinator, Brown would not speculate on possible candidates, but said he would begin his search immediately.

Troy chancellor Jack Hawkins also announced Monday that the university would begin on a north end zone expansion which would include new locker rooms, offices and luxury boxes.

Costs for construction are expected to be in the $15 million-$25 million range and will begin at the end of the 2015 football season, Hartwell said.

“It’s huge. We need it,” Brown said. “It will be a game-changer not only for Troy football but for Troy athletics, Troy University, the city of Troy. Our student-athletes deserve it.”

The expansion has been a long time coming for Troy University.

Players entering their senior seasons remember hearing about it when they were first being recruited to the team.

Brandon Silvers, currently a redshirt freshman, remembered hearing about expansion when he was a freshman in high school.

“When I was in 9th grade. Long time ago,” he said. “It is going to be very big because everyone else is expanding in the Sun Belt, so it is time for us to start expanding a little bit.”

And expand they will.

The new construction, the pool salary, they’re all a part of Troy University’s newfound dedication to finding their way back to the top of the college football food chain.

“Competition is vital,” Brown said. “We are going to compete in everything on a daily basis. Competition breeds success. I think every coach in here will agree with that.”