Sean Keeler/Land of 10
Don Brown is now officially known as the Matthew and Nicole Lester Family Football Defensive Coordinator at Michigan.

What Michigan did by endowing its defensive coordinator position, Michigan faces rival in first Big Ten tournament game and more

Kevin Goheen

Wake up, University of Michigan fans, and welcome to Breakfast of Victors, Land of 10’s daily morning briefing of Wolverines athletics. We’ll get your weekdays started with all the latest Michigan news, notes and insights. Our goal is to bring you closer to the Maize and Blue, your favorite team.

Today is Friday, May 12, 2017, and here’s your Breakfast of Victors…


The news might have gone under the radar a bit, but Michigan has upped the ante in the college football arms race. The university announced Thursday that its defensive coordinator position, currently held by Don Brown, will be endowed by the family of Matthew and Nicole Lester. Talk about your generous gifts.

“This gift represents a long-standing commitment by the Lester family to the University of Michigan and football program, and we have so much appreciation for their generosity,” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said in a news release.

Harbaugh’s position is officially titled the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach. Endowed positions for athletic head coaches have become more commonplace the last few years, but the practice also has filtered down to top assistants as programs attempt to keep those coaches in the fold.

Michigan hired Brown away from Boston College last year, and he produced one of the nation’s top defenses with an attacking style that is predicated on man-to-man coverage. The Wolverines tied with Alabama for the fewest average yards allowed per game and were second to the Crimson Tide in points allowed per game.

Brown was the top-paid assistant coach in the Big Ten last season, according to the USA Today database on assistant coach salaries. This endowment should enable Michigan to raise Brown’s salary, as well as that of other assistants if for no other reason than a trickle-down effect.

Michigan State up first

The Michigan softball team will face No. 7 seed Michigan State Friday at Alumni Field in its first game of the Big Ten Tournament. The Spartans beat No. 10 seed Indiana, 8-7, on Thursday with a 4-run rally in the sixth inning to set up the quarterfinal matchup.

Michigan (41-10-1) is the No. 2 seed in the tournament. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Michigan beat Michigan State in two regular season games, 5-1 and 3-1, and enters the game having won nine in a row and 11 of its last 12 games.

Tennis on tap

The women’s tennis team hosts the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament Friday while the men are in Northern California seeking a trip to the round of 16. Both teams were runners-up to Ohio State in their respective Big Ten tournaments last weekend.

The Michigan women are the No. 10 seed overall and face Youngstown State in their opener, with the winner taking on the winner of the Kentucky-Dartmouth match on Saturday.

The men take on Valparaiso Friday with the winner advancing to face either Idaho or No. 16 seed and host Stanford.

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