Gary Darnell

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Gary Darnell
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1948-10-15) October 15, 1948 (age 65)
Waldron, Arkansas
Playing career
1966–1969 Oklahoma State
Position(s) Linebacker
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1970
1971–1972
1973–1975
1976–1977
1978–1982
1983–1985
1986–1987
1988–1989
1989
1990–1991
1992–1993
1994–1996
1997–2004
2006–2007
2007
Oklahoma State (GA)
Oklahoma State (LBs)
Southern Methodist (LBs)
North Carolina (LBs)
Kansas State (Asst. HC/DC)
Tennessee Tech
Wake Forest (Asst. HC/DC)
Florida (DC)
Florida (Interim HC)
Notre Dame (Asst. HC/DC)
Texas (Asst. HC/ST)
Texas (Asst. HC/DC)
Western Michigan
Texas A&M (DC)
Texas A&M (Interim HC)
Head coaching record
Overall 52–80 (.394)
Statistics
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
MAC West Division Championship (1999, 2000)

Gary Brent Darnell (born October 15, 1948) is a former American college football player and coach. Darnell is native of Arkansas and an alumnus of Oklahoma State University, where he played college football. A long-time defensive coordinator, Darnell was also previously the head coach at Western Michigan University and Tennessee Technological University, as well as the interim head coach at the University of Florida and Texas A&M University.

College career[edit]

Well traveled, Gary Darnell made eleven stops during his 18-year coaching career. As a student, he attended Oklahoma State University as a personal management major and linebacker for the Cowboys football team. As a senior in 1969, he earned All-Big Eight Conference linebacker honors. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969 and again joined the Oklahoma State football team as a graduate assistant.

Assistant and interim head coaching career[edit]

In 1971, he was hired on a full-time basis as the linebackers coach. He later joined the coaching staffs at Southern Methodist University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the same position.

In 1978, Darnell became assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Kansas State University. Darnell and the new staff turned around a program that went 0–11 in 1977, taking them to the Independence Bowl in 1982, Kansas State's first bowl appearance.

In 1986, Darnell joined the staff of Al Groh at Wake Forest University as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. He spent two years with the Demon Deacons before accepting the same position at the University of Florida in 1988. In each of his two seasons at Florida, his defenses ranked third nationally and first in the Southeastern Conference. In the middle of the 1989 season, he took over for his fired predecessor, Galen Hall, as head coach at Florida, leading the Gators to a 3–4 record over the season's final seven games.

In 1990, he accepted a position under Lou Holtz at the University of Notre Dame as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Darnell was replacing Barry Alvarez, who left to take the head coaching job at Wisconsin. He later joined John Mackovic's staff at the University of Texas at Austin as assistant head coach and special teams coordinator in 1992. Two years later, he moved from special teams to defensive coordinator, serving in that position through the 1996 season. He then moved on to become Western Michigan University's head coach in 1997.

Texas A&M[edit]

Darnell was hired as the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M University by head coach Dennis Franchione for the 2006 season. Franchione had previously served as Darnell's offensive coordinator at Tennessee Tech in 1983 and 1984. Inheriting a team that finished 107th in total defense and 97th in scoring defense, Darnell implemented a quick turnaround, with the 2006 team finishing 37th in total defense and 32nd in scoring defense.[1] A day after head coach Dennis Franchione resigned, A&M athletic director Bill Byrne named Darnell the interim head coach. Darnell coached the Aggies in the 2007 Alamo Bowl, which was Darnell's 12th bowl to coach.[2]

Head coaching career[edit]

Tennessee Tech[edit]

After his success at Kansas State, Darnell was hired as head coach at Tennessee Technological University in 1983 where his success as a defensive coach was not duplicated. In his three years with Tennessee Tech, Darnell compiled a 3–29 record.

Western Michigan[edit]

Darnell was hired in 1997 by Western Michigan University as head coach. Inheriting a team that finished 2–9 in 1996, Darnell led a six game turnaround to 8–3, the largest turnaround among NCAA teams in 1997. Western Michigan entered the 1998 season with a seven-game winning streak, the fourth-longest in the nation. The 1998 squad finished with a 7–4 overall record. In 1999, the Broncos clinched the Mid-American Conference West Division title on their way to a 7–5 overall record. The following year, the Broncos repeated as West Division champions with the fourth-best scoring defense in the nation, were ranked as high as 27th in the national polls, and held an eight-game winning streak, the longest at Western Michigan in forty-one years. For his efforts, Darnell was named the 2000 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year.[3]

Following the 2000 season, Darnell became a top candidate for several head coaching positions at BCS conference schools, including the University of Missouri, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Rutgers University, and Oklahoma State University.[4][5] He ultimately signed a five-year extension to remain at WMU. Darnell's last four seasons at Western Michigan were less successful, with the team posting a combined 15–31 record and without a winning season. Darnell was fired after the 2004 season, and the remaining year left on his contract was bought out by the university.[6] Darnell spent the 2005 season out of coaching. His career record at WMU was 46–46.

Several of Darnell's assistant coaches have gone on to be head coaches, including Dennis Franchione, Gary Patterson, Bill Cubit, Jim Knowles, Dan Enos, and J. C. Harper.

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (Ohio Valley Conference) (1983–1985)
1983 Tennessee Tech 2–8 2–5 T–6th
1984 Tennessee Tech 0–11 0–7 8th
1985 Tennessee Tech 1–10 1–6 7th
Tennessee Tech: 3–29 3–18
Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference) (1989)
1989 Florida 3–4 2–2 T–4th L Freedom
Florida: 3–4 2–2[7]
Western Michigan Broncos (Mid-American Conference) (1997–2004)
1997 Western Michigan 8–3 6–2 2nd (West)
1998 Western Michigan 7–4 5–3 3rd (West)
1999 Western Michigan 7–5 6–2 1st (West)
2000 Western Michigan 9–3 7–1 1st (West)
2001 Western Michigan 5–6 4–4 4th (West)
2002 Western Michigan 4–8 3–5 5th (West)
2003 Western Michigan 5–7 4–4 4th (West)
2004 Western Michigan 1–10 0–8 7th (West)
Western Michigan: 46–46 35–29
Texas A&M Aggies (Big 12 Conference) (2007)
2007 Texas A&M 0–1 L Alamo
Texas A&M: 0–1 0–0
Total: 52–80[8]
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sortable Team Stats: Total Defense". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2007-06-22. 
  2. ^ "Darnell Named Interim Head Football Coach" (Press release). Texas A&M Athletics. 2007-11-24. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  3. ^ "MAC Football Awards". VanDelaySports.com. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  4. ^ "North Carolina Interviews New Orleans Assistant Coach". CNNSI.com. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  5. ^ "Irish Sports Report". Irish Sports Report. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  6. ^ "Gary Darnell," The Topeka Capital-Journal (2000). Retrieved March 2, 2010.
  7. ^ 2012 Florida Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 112 & 116 (2012). Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  8. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Gary Darnell Records by Year. Retrieved March 2, 2010.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Barry Alvarez
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Defensive coordinator
1990–1991
Succeeded by
Rick Minter