Hawai’i Football associate head coach Chris Brown joins ‘Wake Up in the Den with Ku’ulei Agbayani’

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED JUNE 6, 2024

HONOLULU A year in the making, the “Lion’s Den” leader finally joined “Wake Up in the Den” on Thursday morning. 

University of Hawai’i associate head coach Chris Brown joined the weekday morning show for a walk down memory lane, discussing the Damien Monarchs days – the greatest school in Kalihi, Brown said smiling – before heading off to play for the home school, starring for June Jones and the ‘Bows during the greatest single-season turnaround in NCAA Football history. 

Following a successful four-year career at Hawai’i, Brown discussed signing as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens. While in Baltimore, the Kahalu’u product crossed paths with a character that would not only leave an imprint on his professional career but also join up with him down the line on the ‘Bows coaching staff. 

“I never forgot meeting [Coach Dennis Thurman with the Ravens], him asking me every day – he used to call me “Hawai’i” and would say ‘Hey Hawai’i, how you doing? How’s the family?’ and then he would ask me if [I needed any help with the playbook],” Brown shared of his first meeting with the new UH defensive coordinator. “When [UH’s defensive coordinator job opened up], his name was one of the candidates and I saw that and my ears perked … [when I was interviewing him on the phone], I told him that I never forgot the times when [he] checked on me, helped me, asked me if I was okay … long story short, two days later, we hired him as the defensive coordinator.” 

Following the bottom of the hour break, the crew shifts the conversation to Brown’s career on the sidelines after his NFL stint. The standout linebacker turned in his helmet for a coaching hat and joined the Saint Louis football program as a junior varsity coach. After excelling there, Brown joined the varsity Crusaders coaching staff where he helped see the program through a boom of success during the Marcus Mariota and Tua Tagovalioa era for Saint Louis. 

The journey pivoted to the continent, where national high school football powerhouse Bishop Gorman came calling for the young man from Kahalu’u to instill the culture of the “Lion’s Den” into the program. He spent seven seasons in Las Vegas, winning five state titles, before good friend and former teammate Timmy Chang came calling to bring Brown home. 

“I knew in my heart that coming back to coach [at Hawai’i] was my dream. To come back and to give back to a school that gave us so much, it was [mine and Timmy’s] turn to come back and build this thing back up again,” Brown said of the difficult decision to leave his role of associate head coach at Bishop Gorman. 

Since putting back on the Warrior Green, Brown has brought nine of those Bishop Gorman players in to help re-energize the program as the ‘Bows enter a critical third season under Chang. The expectation to perform is not just coming from the outside though.  

“These boys are so hungry to win games that they can taste it,” Brown said of the players as the team enters year three of the Chang era. “Now they have to learn how to win. Once they learn how to win and this becomes a constant thing, they’re going to take it over. Now’s the time that we feel they are ready to do it and it’s really exciting to see how they hold themselves accountable now and how the standard has just changed.” 

You can catch ‘Wake Up in The Den with Ku’ulei Agbayani’ live every weekday morning from 8-9 a.m. HT on 95.1 FM, AM 760 and streaming on hawaiisportsradio.com. The show is available after recording where most podcasts are, along with past OIA and HPU broadcasts and older interviews. 

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