Chattanooga’s search for a defensive coordinator lasted a little less than three weeks, and head coach Russ Huesman didn’t have to go very far to find someone fit for the job.
Unlike last month’s hiring of offensive coordinator Jeff Durden, Huesman found a replacement for longtime assistant Adam Fuller already on the staff, safeties coach Adam Braithwaite.
“Coach [Huesman] and I had a conversation about it, and you never know what direction things are going to go in in this profession,” Braithewaite said. “Timing is everything, and I’m just really fortunate that I was given the consideration for this. I’m just fortunate it worked out the way it did.”
Braithewaite, entering his second season at Chattanooga, has previously served as a defensive coordinator on two different occasions in his career.
He helped lead Division III Hampden-Sydney College to an Old Dominion Athletic Conference title in 2007, then, after three seasons as a graduate assistant and position coach at the University of Michigan, took over as defensive coordinator at Division III Christopher Newman University. The Captains also won a conference title in 2011 with Braithewaite in charge of the defense.
“I’m obviously really excited for the opportunity; grateful for the opportunity, and look forward to the challenges that are ahead,” Braithewaite said. “I’m looking forward to being in a leadership role here.”
Braithewaite may feel fortunate, but he was on Huesman’s short list from the beginning. He even got an endorsement from his predecessor before he left for Marshall.
“He was considered right off the bat,” Huesman said. “I trust him. Coach Fuller and I talked about it when he was getting ready to leave, and he recommended Adam as well.”
Braithewaite, a 2002 William & Mary graduate, will serve as both defensive coordinator and safeties coach for the Mocs in 2013.
“Obviously we’ve had success,” Braithewaite said. “As a staff, we’re going to continue to try and build on the things we’ve had success with. We’re going to take a look at what we’ve done, find some things we can do better and improve on. It’s too early in the process to say what is or isn’t going to be different.”
One thing is certain, though, Huesman will have a say in the defense, just as he did when Fuller was in charge of the unit.
“I’ve been involved since I’ve been here,” Huesman said. “Not in a huge capacity, but I have been involved. I can walk into that room and say things, use terminology I’m familiar with. It’ll probably be about the same. Adam is used to it. He’s seen me walk in that office, pop my head in six or seven times a day. Most of the time they’re on the exact same page that I was.”
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.