Next in 'Line'

Illinois filled a suddenly-created vacancy in the coaching staff with over 30 years of experience with the hiring of former Northwestern & Maryland offensive line coach Tom Brattan, who was announced Thursday.

Per Illinois Football Release

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois head coach Tim Beckman announced the hiring of Tom Brattan as offensive line coach on Thursday. Brattan joins the Fighting Illini staff after spending the last 13 years as offensive line coach at Maryland, and he also spent time at Stanford and Northwestern.

"I was extremely pleased to find someone of Tom Brattan's stature at this late date," Beckman said. "He is very well respected around the nation as a coach, as a recruiter and - maybe most importantly - as a person. Tom has experience of working with Al Seamonson and Tim Banks during his time at Maryland, while also having a Big Ten background from eight years at Northwestern. I've never gotten so many calls of support during a coaching search as I did for Tom.

"He already has some terrific relationships with high school coaches in the Chicago area, which gives him a great recruiting start in that important region. We are very fortunate to find someone with all the characteristics and experience that Tom brings to Illinois. He will have to hit the road running when we start our staff meetings on Monday and practice on August 4, but I am confident that he will be able to do that."

Brattan is a 37-year coaching veteran, including 31 years at the collegiate level. During his 13 years in College Park, he helped the Terrapins to eight bowl games and some of the best offensive seasons in school history. Maryland broke the single-season school scoring record in 2001 and the single-season total offense mark in 2003.

Brattan produced five players who earned six All-America honors in his time at Maryland. His linemen also garnered 17 All-ACC laurels, including seven first-team accolades. He helped guide Maryland to eight bowl games and three consecutive 10-win seasons from 2001-03.

He also has prepared a number of players for the next level with 18 former players reaching the NFL, including Bruce Campbell, a fourth-round choice of Oakland in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Brattan's offensive line opened holes for four of the top eight running backs in Maryland history and three of the top rushing seasons ever in College Park. Lance Ball piled up 2,487 yards from 2004-07, Bruce Perry gained 2,424 yards from 1999-2003, Davin Meggett posted 2,411 yards from 2008-11 and Da'Rel Scott gained 2,401 yards from 2007-10. In addition, Perry's 2001 season (1,242 yards), Chris Downs' 1,154-yard campaign in 2002, and Scott's 1,133 yards in 2008 account for three of the eight 1,000-yard seasons in Maryland history.

Prior to coming to Maryland, Brattan spent two years (1999-00) at Stanford, where he served as the Cardinal's line coach in charge of centers and guards. Stanford went 8-4 in 1999 en route to a Rose Bowl bid. The 1999 Stanford offense scored at least 31 points in all but three games and hit the 50-point plateau three times. That year, Brattan's offensive line allowed just 15 sacks in 385 passing attempts (one sack for every 27 attempts).

Brattan has eight years experience in the Big Ten after coaching at Northwestern from 1992-98. He served as offensive line coach for the first five seasons and added the title of assistant head coach under Gary Barnett for his final three campaigns in Evanston.

Brattan helped the Wildcats to the 1995 Big Ten title and berth in the Rose Bowl, finishing the season 10-2 and ranked No. 7 in the nation. Brattan's line allowed just eight sacks all year while helping propel Darnell Autry to a new school rushing record. Northwestern finished fifth nationally in rushing that season. The Wildcats also won the Big Ten title in 1996 and earned a bid to play Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl.

Brattan took his first full-time job at the collegiate level at William & Mary in 1983 as an offensive backfield coach. After just one season, he was promoted to offensive coordinator and served the remainder of his tenure (1984-91) in that capacity. He also worked with the offensive line at William & Mary. In that time, the Tribe advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs on three occasions. From 1986 to 1990, William & Mary earned national rankings in three seasons (No. 9 in 1986; No. 13 in 1989; No. 7 in 1990), ranked in the top 20 in offense in 1985 and 1986, had the top-rated attack in Division I-AA for the 1990 season and the sixth-best in `91.

Brattan got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Delaware, in 1972, then spent nine years coaching high school football before joining the staff at William & Mary.

A native of Newark, Del., Brattan is a 1972 graduate of Delaware, where he earned his bachelor's degree in history and later earned his master's degree in education in 1977. He was a member of the Blue Hen football team, lettering in 1971 and helping Delaware to a 10-1 record and Division II national championship. He and his wife, Anne, have three daughters, Kristen, Kate and Megan.

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