A former assistant coach for the San Jose State football team is back, this time as head coach.
On Wednesday, San Jose State announced that it had hired Brent Brennan, who was most recently wide receivers coach at Oregon State, as the next football head coach. Then on Thursday, university president Mary Papazian and athletic director Gene Bleymaier introduced Brennan at a press conference held on main campus in the student union.
"Brent is a tireless worker, fierce competitor—don’t let that baby face fool you—and a great motivator," said Papazian in her opening remarks.
Since Wednesday, opening the San Jose State athletics website sjsuspartans.com launched a graphic reading "Welcome home head coach Brent Brennan," in reference to Brennan's time as an assistant coach under both Dick Tomey and Mike MacIntyre from 2005 to 2010.
Part of Tomey's inaugural staff at San Jose State, Brennan began as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. In 2007, Brennan moved to coaching the tight ends while remaining recruiting coordinator. In Tomey's final season in 2009, Brennan was co-offensive coordinator alongside Steve Morton in addition to coaching offensive tackles, tight ends, and special teams. When MacIntyre became head coach in 2010, Brennan solely coached wide receivers before moving to Oregon State the following season.
“Brent will recruit the talent needed to succeed in the highly competitive Mountain West Conference and beyond,” added Papazian.
A native of Redwood City, Calif. and son of San Jose State football alum Steve Brennan, the 43-year-old Brent Brennan is a graduate of St. Francis High School in San Jose and UCLA. He began his coaching career in 1996 as an assistant coach at Woodside (Calif.) High School before moving to the collegiate level as a graduate assistant, first at Hawaii in 1998, Washington in 1999, and Arizona in 2000. From 2001 to 2004, Brennan was wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Cal Poly.
Bleymaier said that the interest in the coaching vacancy was “unbelievable” and that he sought references from dozens of coaches.
“There was one familiar theme in all the responses when I asked them about Brent Brennan. The first thing everyone said without hesitation is, ‘great recruiter,’” added Bleymaier.
Starting off by thanking his wife, children, and other family members for their support, Brennan then thanked Papazian and Bleymaier and addressed the fans in attendance.
“I got such a great feel from [Papazian] and her interest in wanting football to be completely integrated with the campus and for the enthusiasm to be breathed back into our campus life,” said Brennan.
The new head coach then moved on to addressing the football program.
“I’ve been preparing for this job my whole life, and the opportunity to lead this group of men here at San Jose State is special to me,” began Brennan, recalling how he played catch on the old soccer fields as a child while his parents tailgated before San Jose State football games.
“My goal here is to build a culture that is founded on accountability and toughness,” added Brennan, addressing both academics and the game.
Brennan also said that he is in the process of organizing his coaching staff.
“These guys will be outstanding football men, great scheme guys, but they will be high energy guys [who] will genuinely care for the kids on a personal level,” said Brennan about his yet to be named assistant coaches.
After discussing his plans as a coach, Brennan called on more fans to attend football games this coming season.
“I see the potential for this place, but I also know that I need more people to join in seeing that potential, to choose to support what we are trying to do,” appealed Brennan.
Brennan later made a one-liner that drew applause: “Get off the bench and get in the game.”
James Jones, a former San Jose State wide receiver who began playing in the NFL in 2007, attended the press conference and praised Brennan.
"He's an extremely talented coach, so I'm excited about what's he's going to bring for San Jose State," Jones told SJSU Update News.
Bryson Bridges and Bryce Crawford, two current members of the team, expressed hope that Brennan could help improve the football team's performance.
On social media prior to the press conference, other former football players who had Brennan as a coach praised the hire. Adam Herzing, a former Cal Poly wide receiver, posted on Facebook that Brennan was "the best I've played for." Former San Jose State running back Ray Rodriguez said Brennan had "tons of passion" as a coach.
San Jose State also provided a list of testimonials for Brennan, one being from Tomey: "He prepared well for this opportunity and will bring rare energy and ability to connect to the job."