Jayhawker Podcast Feature: Brent Dearmon
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Love what you do, and you will never work a day in your life.
For Kansas offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon, this saying holds true. Dearmon, who was thrust into the offensive coordinator role at Kansas last season on October 6, enjoys ever opportunity to affect his players in a positive manner.
“I love what I do now and I get to see and impact 100, 120 players on a daily basis,” said Dearmon on Episode 20 of the Jayhawker Podcast. “Pour joy and happiness into those guys’ lives.”
Dearmon’s path to Kansas along with his journey through football have not always been clear and on a determined path.
A former duel sport athlete at Bethel University, he excelled in baseball at a young age and throughout high school before eventually choosing the sport he loves, football, and joining the ranks of high school coaches, which included his father.
In order to better understand Dearmon and his roots in football, it goes back to sitting at the kitchen table with his dad when he was 7-years old.
Preparing for this moment his entire life …
Dearmon grew up in a football family, and experienced coaching at a young age – at the kitchen table with his father who spent 42-years as a high school football coach.
“I can remember as a 7-year-old sitting at the kitchen table with Dad as he’s drawing plays up old school-wise,” described Dearmon.
His experiences weren’t just in the family kitchen, but on Friday nights roaming the sidelines.
“I grew up on the sidelines and on Friday nights,” Dearmon said to the voice of the Jayhawks Brian Hanni on the Jayhawker Podcast. “Being the ball boy, wearing that too big jersey that hangs down to your knees, and running out to go get the tee after kickoff.”
When not under those Friday Night lights, Dearmon’s journey further developed in a chair next to his fathers at the kitchen table.
“I can remember sitting there with him and watching how to draw power, watching how to draw trap and thinking, “Man, this is something I want to do.”
Going through adversity and playing football at Bethel University …
On a successful team as a high school quarterback, Dearmon didn’t face the opposition he would experience in his first year at Bethel University.
As a member of a new era of Bethel football, he would be one of 13 true freshmen to start in the 2003 season opener under a new coaching staff.
“We were a young, upstart football program that had been around for only about ten years with a new coach, new staff,” Dearmon stated. “I got thrown out there game one of my freshman year.”
That year the Wildcats would go 2-9, and Dearmon was sacked 56 times, leading the nation in most times sacked by.
It was only the beginning to a storied career at Bethel.
“It taught me how to get up,” said Dearmon. “Not to let the adversity kill your dream. We ended up winning two conference championships my junior and senior year, taking my team to the playoffs.”
Dearmon rewrote the school’s record book, and is second in program history with 2,388 passing yards and 25 passing touchdowns in a single season. Dearmon’s 7,045 career passing yards and 77 career touchdown passes are still program records.
What is not in the record books, are the stories of Dearmon’s toughness and dedication to the game of football.
Toughness. Leader. Quarterback.
Injuries are part of any sporting event – whether it is a sprained ankle, bump or bruise – but nothing could have prepared Dearmon for the injury he experienced in his final game as a senior at Bethel.
After ousting Friends University 35-0 in the first round of the 2006 NAIA Playoffs, the Wildcats played No. 1 seed St. Francis, who opened the playoffs with a 42-3 victory over Walsh (Ohio).
Dearmon, a natural competitor, looked to make a play to spark his offense prior to the half, and was forced to leave the pocket after both a St. Francis linebacker and defensive tackle were hot on his trail.
“I went to slide head first and I didn’t want this big defensive tackle behind me to be the one to hit me,” said Dearmon. “So when I slide head first the mike linebacker speared me in the back of the helmet and we got a 15-yard penalty out of it.”
The 15-yard penalty would not be the only thing that Bethel and Dearmon would get out of the play.
In the process of taking the hit, his helmet was shoved into the turf, snapping his chinstrap and sending the bottom bar of the facemask into his open mouth. The result was an opening that appeared to be a second mouth for Dearmon, who also had to pick up teeth that were dislodged on the play.
“I had to dry shave the goatee so they could bandage it (his mouth) up to go back in,” Dearmon stated. “There was no question if I was going to go back in.”
That toughness propelled the senior, and his team in the second half.
In a game that saw a combined 57 points in the second half, Dearmon accounted for three passing touchdowns, including one that put Bethel up on St. Francis late in the fourth quarter.
With 2:16 left in the game. Bethel’s Ricky Easton received a 17-yard pass from Dearmon, giving the Wildcats a 35-34 lead.
Despite the toughness and heroics displayed by Dearmon, Bethel dropped the quarterfinal match-up to St. Francis 42-35 after a late touchdown pass by USF.
Experiencing the Kick Six …
If you are an Auburn fan, or an Alabama fan, or any college football fan you probably remember the Kick Six, and for Auburn and Alabama fans it might replay in your dreams or nightmares.
For Dearmon, he recalls an extra special memory from his time on the Auburn staff.
After coaching as a student assistant at Bethel, and at Vigor High School and B.C. Rain High School in Alabama, he found his way on to the Auburn staff in 2013 as an offensive analyst.
Dearmon worked under Gus Malzahn, a former high school coach like Dearmon who made the leap to NCAA Division I football, and Dearmon was Malzahn’s statistics guy. A former mathematician, high school coach and son of a high school coach, Dearmon and Malzahn created a unique and lasting relationship.
On November 30, 2013, Auburn and Alabama were tied 28-all in the annual Iron Bowl clash.
With the final second on the clock, Dearmon had one of the best seats in Jordan-Hare Stadium – in the coaches box next to Auburn’s special teams analyst
“This is a side note that a lot of people don’t realize,” said Dearmon. “Alabama sent their field goal unit out with one second left. It was during that timeout, that we said ‘hey we might want to put a punt returner back here because it’s a long field goal’.”
In such a unique ending, everything needed to go in Auburn’s favor, and it did, but the play would have never happened without that timeout.
“If they would have never called the timeout and just kicked it, then that play would have never happened,” said Dearmon. “I was in the box, sitting next to our special teams analyst. He was the one that came up with the idea to put a guy back there.”
The moments Dearmon and the staff realized they had a chance on the play?
The 30-yard line and the 50-yard line.
Around the 30-yard line, the staff realized Alabama only had offensive linemen and kicker on the field, none of the typical punt return personal that would be able to catch a speedy returner.
Once Auburn’s Chris Davis hit the 50?
“Our entire box goes crazy – that whole stadium, I am shocked the whole stadium didn’t fall down that day because of how crazy it was,” said Dearmon.
Auburn won the game 34-28 and finished the season 12-2.
Dearmon left a year later to take the offensive coordinator job at Arkansas Tech, a post he held until 2017 before becoming the head coach at Bethel College.
In his one year as the head coach of his alma mater, Dearmon guided the Wildcats to their best season in school history with a 10-0 regular-season record. The Wildcats produced the nation’s highest-scoring offense at any level in 2018.
Want to learn more about Dearmon?
Hear the full story about Brent Dearmon on Episode 20 of the Jayhawker Podcast here. Subscribe and listen to the Jayhawker Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Play, and check back on KUAthletics.com for additional podcast content.