When David Brown was being recruited to play for Cal Poly in the early 1990s, he was sold on how great the new stadium would be once constructed.
When he returned as an assistant coach for the Mustangs in the early 2000s, he sold his recruits on the same dream: a remade stadium to play in before they graduated.
Though Brown would leave Cal Poly to join the staff at Ohio in 2005 — the year prior to the opening of a renovated Alex G. Spanos Stadium — he has been back to town to see the half-new building.
“I haven’t worked there for a while, but every summer, we find a way to get to SLO,” said Brown, who met his wife and fellow Cal Poly graduate Elisabeth during his coaching stint with the Mustangs. “We’ve seen the new facility. Definitely jealous.”
Brown never played or coached in Spanos Stadium, but when Cal Poly (1-0) takes on Fresno State at Bulldog Stadium tonight at 7 p.m., it will be the second time Brown will have stood on the opposite sideline as his alma mater on another field.
The first-year Bulldogs safeties coach was also a defensive backs coach at Ohio when the Mustangs fell to the Bobcats 28-10 on the road in 2009, Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh’s first season in San Luis Obispo.
Brown, who was Cal Poly’s defensive coordinator under Rich Ellerson from 2004-05, left Ohio to become the head coach at Division II Missouri S&T in 2010.
Each season, Brown improved his record at Missouri S&T, going 3-8 his first year to 10-1 in 2012 and earning a spot in the year-end top-25 rankings.
The Los Angeles native said he took the opportunity to become a position coach at Fresno State to return his family, including three children under 7, to California.
As if the Bulldogs seniors who were around for a 38-17 victory over the Mustangs when the teams last met in 2010 weren’t enough to keep the team focused, Brown is happy to remind Fresno State how dangerous Cal Poly can be.
He coached all three of the Mustangs’ Buck Buchanan Award winners — Jordan Beck, Chris Gocong and Kyle Shotwell — and helmed the defense when the young Ramses Barden and James Noble helped lead Cal Poly to the second round of the FCS playoffs in 2005.
“Every given year is different,” Brown said. “When I was coaching there, we had some guys that could play just about anywhere in America. I’m pretty sure they have a few of those guys now.”