🎙 The Jayhawker Podcast | Brent Dearmon
Episode 20: Brent Dearmon | May 21, 2020
He’s regarded as one of the brightest up-and-coming offensive minds in football. And though Brent Dearmon’s rise to offensive coordinator at Kansas happened faster than even he could have imagined, it’s a dream he’s been preparing for his entire life.
The son of a football coach, Dearmon fell in love with the game at an early age.
“My dad spent 42 years as a high school football coach… so I grew up on the sidelines,” Dearmon recalls. “I grew up on Friday nights being the ball boy, wearing that too-big jersey that hangs down to your knees, going out and getting the tee after the kickoff. That was my gameday experience.”
It wasn’t just the Friday Night Lights in Alabama that had a young Dearmon hooked though. Kitchen table chalk talk with Dad is what really reeled him in.
“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. “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. This is something I want to be.’ Everything we do (now), I can look back as a child and think, ‘I can use some that.’ I know I am what I am now because of my father and the family I grew up in.”
After a record-setting playing career at NAIA Bethel College, Dearmon went straight into coaching – including 5 years at the high school level in Alabama. It was there where Auburn coach Gus Malzahn took notice, and added Dearmon to his staff as an offensive analyst.Dearmon recalls gathering as much as he could in his two seasons working under Malzahn – lessons learned that are still paying dividends today.
“I just tried to be a sponge those two years I was there. I didn’t want to go in and be an idea guy, I just sat in the back of the room and absorbed as much as I could and learned his system in depth. I’d say about 65% of what we do is based around his system.”
Dearmon would then spend four years as the OC at Arkansas Tech before returning to his alma mater as the head coach. But after one season of producing the country’s highest-scoring offense, why did he decide to take a leap of faith and join the Jayhawks as an analyst?
“I wanted to do my best to get to the Division-1 football level and prove to myself that I could do it,” recalls Dearmon. “It’s also that adrenaline rush. That screaming crowd. The performance you have walking out on that stage at a Saturday.”
Dearmon missed the gameday buzz that comes with coaching at the major conference level, but it was the sales pitch of Les Miles that sealed the deal.
“Coach Miles is a really good recruiter,” praised Dearmon. “So when he calls you on the phone you understand why some of those four and five-star recruits were going to LSU. So he called and he recruited me. It took a little bit to get me out of my alma mater but man, I haven’t regretted it one day.”
Dearmon’s ascent from offensive analyst to KU’s OC took only half a season and he had less than two weeks to prepare for his first came as play-caller when the Jayhawks traveled to Austin, TX on October 19th, 2019. What ensued was a debut that featured 48 points and nearly a historic victory. Even in defeat though, the performance showed what this rising coaching talent is capable of. Go inside Dearmon’s journey to the offensive coordinator post at Kansas on this week’s edition of The Jayhawker.
It’s an opportunity he’s been preparing for his entire life and Coach Dearmon is convinced the best is yet to come.