Bowden hires three former Tigers on his coaching staff
Terry Bowden came to Clemson nearly two years ago as an unpaid intern, while hoping to learn some new things under head coach Dabo Swinney. Bowden’s goal was to take what he learned and maybe use it to land another head coaching job.
Bowden, now 64-years old, took over as the head coach at Louisiana-Monroe last month. And to return the favor Swinney offered him, Bowden gave three of Swinney’s staffers, and all former players, their first coaching jobs in college football.
On Thursday, Bowden announced through a press release, that former Clemson standouts Rod McDowell, Xavier Brewer and Maverick Morris have all landed jobs on his ULM staff. All three have worked with Bowden at Clemson the last two seasons.
McDowell will coach the running backs, Brewer will be in charge of the cornerbacks and Morris will be the offensive line coach.
“These three young coaches gained valuable experience while winning a lot of games,” Bowden said in the release. “They have a true understanding of what it takes to win, and the confidence to do the right things. I’m surrounding myself with coaches that have experience winning games and winning championships. I believe success breeds success, so I’m excited to have these dynamic, young coaches on my ULM staff.”
Over the last two seasons, Brewer, Morris and McDowell have played a role in helping Clemson compile a combined record of 24-3 (.889), including a 16-1 record (.941) in Atlantic Coast Conference games, back-to-back ACC Championships, consecutive trips to the College Football Playoff and No. 2 and No. 3 rankings in the final polls, respectively.
A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Brewer was a four-year letterman as a defensive back at Clemson from 2009-12 and was selected as a permanent team co-captain as a senior. He appeared in 53 career games with 34 starts for Clemson, recording 193 career tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss including 3.0 sacks, five interceptions, 23 pass break-ups and three forced fumbles. Following his senior season, Brewer received an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game.
“Xavier Brewer is a former team captain, who knows all about leadership,” Bowden said. “He’s a man of strong character, who was extremely active in the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) at Clemson. Xavier has a bright future as a coach, and he’ll be a great mentor to our young defensive backs.”
Brewer earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Clemson in 2012.
“I’m excited for new beginnings and the opportunity to bring all of my experience of playing and coaching this game to the highest level here at ULM,” Brewer said. “I understand the importance of teaching the transferable skills from this game to life, and I look forward to going through that process with these fine student-athletes at ULM.
“Being around Coach Bowden for the last two years, I appreciated his humility to learn and grow even with all of his previous success as a head coach. For that reason alone, I knew he was a man I wanted to work for.”
In 2019, McDowell returned to his alma mater, Clemson, as an offensive graduate assistant before assuming an offensive player development role in 2020.
“Rod McDowell was a four-year letterman at Clemson, who became an All-ACC running back,” Bowden said. “He played for and coached under Tony Elliott, one of the top running back coaches in college football. Rod brings energy and youthful enthusiasm to work every day. He’ll have a positive impact on his position group as well as the entire offense. Rod also will demand his backs display physical and mental toughness.”
A four-year letterman from 2010-‘13, McDowell accounted for 1,983 career all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns. As a senior in 2013, he rushed for 1,023 yards and five TDs while earning All-ACC Third-Team honors.
A native of Sumter, S.C., McDowell graduated from Clemson with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2013.
“With opportunity comes growth,” McDowell said. “When Coach Bowden offered me the opportunity to become a part of the ULM family, I understood what an amazing opportunity it is to help grow this program while leading young boys into becoming men. I’m looking forward to equipping them with the tools of life – both on and off the field – while playing the game God has blessed us to play and coach.”
During Morris’ three-year tenure as grad coach at Clemson, the Tigers produced a combined record of 39-3 (.929), including a 24-1 ledger (.960) in league games, three-straight ACC titles and three consecutive appearances in the College Football Playoff. In 2018, Clemson went a perfect 15-0, 8-0 in ACC play, and won the National Championship with wins over Notre Dame (30-3) and Alabama (44-16) in the playoffs.
Morris spent the last three years working under Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell, who has seen every starting O-lineman earn All-ACC honors from 2018-20.
“Maverick Morris played in a lot of meaningful games during his playing career and was selected a permanent captain as a senior in 2017,” Bowden said. “He’s been involved in two National Championship Games, one as a player and one as a coach. So, he knows how to win.
“When I first arrived at Clemson, Maverick was one of the first young coaches who jumped out at me. He’s been trained by an outstanding offensive line coach in Robbie Caldwell, who mentored him and prepared him to become a college coach.”
A four-year letterman from 2014-‘17, Morris played a key role in helping the Tigers finish with an ACC-record 50 wins at the time, three ACC Championships and three CFP appearances, including the 2016 National Championship. As a senior in 2017, he was selected as a team co-captain.
Morris appeared in 48 career games and played more than 1,200 snaps. He was named co-winner of Clemson’s 12th-Man Award on offense in 2016.
“It was a no-brainer when Coach Bowden offered me the job,” Morris said. “After working side-by-side with Coach Bowden for the past two years it is easy for me to see that he will do a phenomenal job as ULM’s head football coach. Countless times, I watched him display humility and hard work, and he loved every second of it. In him, I saw a coach that was eager to learn more, but most of all, I see a man who wants to build something special and leave a legacy. That’s exactly what we intend to do. The best is yet to come!”
A native of Broxton, Ga., Morris earned his bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and tourism management from Clemson in May 2017. He added a master’s degree in athletic leadership from Clemson in December 2019.
The news of hiring Brewer, McDowell and Morris comes a day after Bowden named former Clemson offensive coordinator and West Virginia and Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez as the new ULM offensive coordinator.
–ULM Athletic Communications Contributed to this story