Terre Haute, Ind.(WTHI) - First-year Indiana State head football coach Mike Sanford announced today (January 21) that Brian Cabral has been hired as the program's Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator.
"Brian Cabral brings tremendous experience and expertise to our staff," Sanford said. "He will be a great addition from a defensive scheme standpoint, but most of all for his ability to develop players and bring out the best in them. Brian cares deeply about student-athletes, a trait that both he and I share."
Cabral comes to Indiana State from the University of Colorado where in 2012 he completed his 24th season, his 23rd as a full time assistant coach, with a Buffalo staff which he joined as a graduate assistant in 1989.
"I am so excited to work again with coach Mike Sanford, who I worked with in my first job at Purdue," Cabral commented. "We have a great opportunity here at Indiana State to build on what this program has accomplished so far. What the Sycamores were able to do defensively last season was impressive. Our job now is to help this program make the next step up."
In his tenure with Colorado, Cabral also held various other titles, including interim head coach, associate head coach and assistant head coach.
His 23 years as a full-time assistant rank as the most in CU history, not only for football but for all sports, as in 2008 he passed two legendary "Franks," Potts and Prentup, both of whom assisted Buff head football coaches for 18 seasons. Since he joined the staff, he always coached the inside linebackers, and occasionally has had the outside 'backers under his direction as well as he did under Embree.
From 1999 through 2005, he also coached the punt return unit on special teams, and served as the director of CU's summer football camps from 1995 through 2005 and for a brief time as recruiting coordinator.
Cabral worked under five different head coaches during his tenure: Bill McCartney, Rick Neuheisel, Gary Barnett, Dan Hawkins and Embree. For all seven seasons under Barnett, Cabral also was the assistant head coach, which included a three-month period in 2004 as interim head coach when Barnett was on paid administrative leave. In that role, he continued to coach his position players but also took care of day-to-day operational details of the program.
Hawkins promoted him to associate head coach on February 7, 2008, citing his leadership in noting that "no one person has had more influence in the success of Colorado football than Brian Cabral." When Hawkins was relieved of his duties as head coach on November 8, 2010, Cabral was once again named interim head coach, this time having to finish out the season and pilot the Buffs in game situations. He led Colorado to a 2-1 record, with wins over Iowa State (34-14) and Kansas State (44-36) before a 45-17 loss at Nebraska ended CU's hopes for a bowl invitation as the Buffs finished the year with a 5-7 record.
You could also call him an ambassador for his native Hawai'i, as he has worked youth camps in the state as well as all-Polynesian camps in the states. He is a founding board member of the Polynesian Coaches Association, formed ahead of the 2007 season. Cabral's father was the first Hawaiian student-athlete to compete at Notre Dame.
In the summer of 2002, he was one of 500 nationwide recipients of the AFLAC National Assistant Coach-of-the-Year Award. Coaches on all levels were honored, from youth to professional, and he was one of 10 selected regionally to receive the award. In 2008, CBSSportsline.com selected him to its "All-Coach" team at the linebacker position.
Cabral tutored the inside linebackers his first year in Boulder as a grad assistant, and assumed full-time duties in the same capacity in 1990 and has coached the position at CU to this day. He returned to Colorado, his alma mater, from Purdue, where he coached the inside linebackers for two seasons (1987-88). Cabral and Sanford first met and coached together at Purdue during this time.
Known as one of the top linebacker coaches in the nation, his students have included Matt Russell, the 1996 Butkus Award winner, all-Big Eight performers Greg Biekert, Chad Brown and Ted Johnson, all of whom went on to stardom in the National Football League, and all-Big 12 linebacker Jordon Dizon, a consensus All-American who was also the league defensive player of the year for 2007. He also recruited tailback Rashaan Salaam, the 1994 Heisman trophy winner, and Chris Naeole, a 1996 All-American guard.
His 2001 punt return team led the nation with a 17.4 average, and also boasted the nation's top individual return man in Roman Hollowell, who averaged 18.0 per return and scored two touchdowns. In 2002, Jeremy Bloom averaged 15.0 yards per return and was 13th in the nation as a freshman (ranking 21st as a sophomore in '03). Cabral prided himself on the team being composed largely of non-starters, drawing comparison to his roots when he was special teams captain of the Chicago