Add a piece of hardware to David Braun’s first year as a head coach.
Braun has been named the 2023 Big Ten Coach of the Year, the Big Ten announced Tuesday afternoon. Braun becomes the fifth Northwestern head coach to win the award, joining Pat Fitzgerald, Randy Walker, Gary Barnett and Dennis Green. Braun is the first coach to win the award while holding the interim coach title to begin the season, and the first true first-year Big Ten COY winner since Bill O’Brien in 2012.
The Consensus Big Ten Coach of the Year pic.twitter.com/5JmiCJW6OH— Northwestern Football (@NUFBFamily) November 28, 2023
Since taking over the program in July, Braun helped turn around NU from the bottom of the conference to the upper echelon. After finishing 1-11 in 2022, Northwestern closed out the 2023 regular season 7-5, clinching a winning record and a bowl appearance for the first time since 2020. Because of the Wildcats’ performance, Braun had the interim tag dropped, being named the Dan and Susan Jones Head Football Coach on Nov. 15.
Braun, who acted as defensive coordinator as well, oversaw the turnaround of NU’s defense. NU finished 43rd in total defense this season; comparatively, the ‘Cats ended 81st in 2022. Northwestern also made massive strides in the turnover area, going from the bottom of the FBS in turnover margin last year to the top 10 in 2023.
Braun and the Wildcats will take the field one more time this season, playing in a bowl game in late December.