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Northwest Coach Profiles: Rich Brooks

NCAA Football: Rich Brooks

Rich Brooks
Born: August 20th, 1941
Place of birth: Forest, California
College: Defensive Back (Oregon State)
Position: DL, LB, DB, ST, DC, HC
Overall Coaching Record: 128-154-4 (college) 13-19 (NFL)
Bowl Record: 4-4

With his solid work ethic and abundant experience, 1979 PAC-10 coach of the year Rich Brooks has endured. With a sense of humor, and his famous saying, “A win is a win,” he has lost more football games than most modern day coaches get the chance to before they are sacked.

Playing Career and Early Coaching Years

Rich Brooks went into Oregon State as a football player, but he knew what his true passion was all along. He played defensive back at OSU from 1961-63, and as soon as that tenure ended, he transitioned right into coaching.

It all started for him at his alma mater when he put the pads down, then in the same year he became an assistant for the freshman team at Oregon State.

After that year, he could not seem to get settled as he occupied seven different positions over the next 13 years.

The jobs ranged from a Notre Del Rio High School assistant, to a San Francisco 49ers defensive backs coach, a defensive coordinator for the Beavers, and to being the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

But it wasn’t until after his stint with UCLA as a special teams coach that things changed in a very big way.

Rich Brooks

Northwest Coach Profiles: Rich Brooks

On to Oregon

Brooks was hired by Oregon in 1977, a bitter sweet position to his alma mater –Oregon State. But, he was prepared to put all of that behind him to get a shot at his first head coaching job.

It turned out to be a good move, as he would stay at Oregon for nearly 20 years, by which time the Oregon State faithful hated his guts. And still do.

During his tenure he absolutely dominated the in-state rivalry with the Beavers, holding a 14-3-1 mark in that series. It was that record that had a huge influence on him keeping his job during the down years.

I think the higher ups at Oregon enjoyed the benefits of their decision, because in 1994 it all paid off when Brooks led the Ducks to their first ever outright conference championship, and the Rose Bowl bid that came with it.

Although Brooks finished his tenure with an unimpressive 91-109-4 record at Oregon, his small accomplishments are the main reason that Oregon football is where it is today.

In 2003, Brooks returned to college football from the NFL , and went 39-46 in seven seasons at Kentucky before retiring.

About the same winning percentage as he had in Eugene.

With a Mark Twain type approach to life, Brooks was able to surmount the challenges before him throughout his career, and because of that retired as one of the better coaches the Northwest has ever seen.

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