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Gary Darnell

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Title: Gary Darnell  
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Subject: 2007 Alamo Bowl, List of Florida Gators head football coaches, Dennis Franchione, 2004 Western Michigan Broncos football team, 2006 Texas A&M Aggies football team
Collection: 1948 Births, American Football Linebackers, Florida Gators Football Coaches, Kansas State Wildcats Football Coaches, Living People, North Carolina Tar Heels Football Coaches, Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football Coaches, Oklahoma State Cowboys Football Coaches, Oklahoma State Cowboys Football Players, People from Scott County, Arkansas, Smu Mustangs Football Coaches, Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles Football Coaches, Texas A&M Aggies Football Coaches, Texas Longhorns Football Coaches, Wake Forest Demon Deacons Football Coaches, Western Michigan Broncos Football Coaches
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gary Darnell

Gary Darnell
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1948-10-15) October 15, 1948
Waldron, Arkansas
Playing career
1966–1969 Oklahoma State
Position(s) Linebacker
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1970 Oklahoma State (GA)
1971–1972 Oklahoma State (LB)
1973–1975 SMU (LB)
1976–1977 North Carolina (LB)
1978–1982 Kansas State (AHC/DC)
1983–1985 Tennessee Tech
1986–1987 Wake Forest (AHC/DC)
1988–1989 Florida (DC)
1989 Florida (interim HC)
1990–1991 Notre Dame (AHC/DC)
1992–1993 Texas (AHC/ST)
1994–1996 Texas (AHC/DC)
1997–2004 Western Michigan
2006–2007 Texas A&M (DC)
2007 Texas A&M (interim HC)
Head coaching record
Overall 52–80
Bowls 0–2
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
2 MAC West Division (1999–2000)

Gary Brent Darnell (born October 15, 1948) is a former American football player and coach at the college level. 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 1
  • Assistant and interim head coaching career 2
    • Texas A&M 2.1
  • Head coaching career 3
    • Tennessee Tech 3.1
    • Western Michigan 3.2
  • Head coaching record 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Bibliography 7
  • External links 8

College career

Well traveled, Gary Darnell made eleven stops during his 38-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

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

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

Tennessee Tech

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

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

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
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 0–0 L Alamo
Texas A&M: 0–1 0–0
Total: 52–80[8]
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title

See also


  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". Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  4. ^ "North Carolina Interviews New Orleans Assistant Coach".  
  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.


  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 0-7385-0559-5.

External links

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