David Braun named head football coach at Northwestern
Braun has served as interim head coach since July
- Link to: Northwestern Now Story
David Braun has been named Northwestern University’s Dan and Susan Jones Family Head Football Coach, President Michael Schill and Vice President for Athletics & Recreation Dr. Derrick Gragg announced today. The new title takes effect immediately. Braun becomes the 30th head football coach in University history.
Schill and Gragg will introduce Braun as the new head coach Thursday, Nov. 16, at a noon CT press conference in Ryan Fieldhouse on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.
Braun has led the Wildcats to a 5-5 record while serving as interim head coach. Schill praised Braun for his leadership both on and off the field.
“We asked Dave to support our student-athletes this season, and he has done an exceptional job,” Schill said. “Under his guidance, Northwestern’s football team has exceeded expectations on the field and excelled in the classroom. The turnaround he has led, under very difficult circumstances, is nothing short of phenomenal.
“I have had the opportunity to sit down with Coach Braun in recent months, meetings that re-affirmed what I saw on the field and heard from people close to the program — that Dave’s values are Northwestern’s values,” Schill said. “I couldn’t be happier that he will permanently lead our student-athletes on the gridiron.”
“Upon his arrival at Northwestern, I quickly identified that Coach Braun embodies the values of our athletic department: respect, integrity, service and excellence,” Gragg said. “It was the right decision to appoint him as the interim leader, and I congratulate Coach Braun on being named the head coach of our football program. He has earned this position.
“Coach Braun has rallied the team under very adverse circumstances,” Gragg said. “He has gained the respect of the student-athletes, the staff, parents, alumni and our fans.”
Braun joined Northwestern in January as the team’s defensive coordinator. He was named interim head coach for the 2023 season in July.
"I am truly honored for the opportunity to continue leading Northwestern's football program,” Braun said. “Over the past five months, having the chance to lead this group has been the opportunity of a lifetime. Moving forward, my mission is to build on this positive momentum, aiming to create one of the best experiences in college football for our student-athletes.
“To the entire Northwestern community, your support is the backbone of our success,” Braun continued. “Northwestern holds a special place in the collegiate landscape, with its top-notch academics, Big Ten football tradition and, most importantly, the incredible people within our University and athletic department.
“I want to express my gratitude to President Schill, Dr. Gragg and the search committee for entrusting me with the leadership of this program. And above all, a thank you to my wife, Kristin, for supporting me every step along the way.”
Braun is the first Northwestern head coach to win five games in his first season since Walter McCornack led his Wildcats to a 10-1 record and a Co-Big Ten Championship in 1903.
At 38 years old, Braun is the 10th youngest coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and the second youngest in the Big Ten behind Purdue University’s Ryan Walters. Under Braun, Northwestern currently is tied with the University of South Florida for the largest increase in wins from the 2022 season to 2023 season. Of the 11 first-time FBS head coaches, Braun is tied for the second-best record.
Prior to joining Northwestern, Braun served as defensive coordinator at Division I FCS powerhouse North Dakota State University for four seasons. He helped lead the Bison to two FCS National Championships. In 2021, he was named the Football Scoop FCS Defensive Coordinator of the Year.
His career began at Winona State University in Minnesota, where he played on the defensive line, served as team captain, earned two all-conference honors and helped his team to three Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Championships and three NCAA Division II Playoff appearances. After graduating in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in social science education, Braun joined the Winona State coaching staff as a graduate assistant.
Braun spent one year as the defensive coordinator at Culver-Stockton College before returning to Winona State to serve as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 2011-2014. He spent the next two seasons at University of California, Davis coaching the defensive line before joining the staff at the University of Northern Iowa, where he coached the defensive line and outside linebackers and earned run game and special teams coordinator duties.
Braun and his wife, Kristin, are the parents of two boys, Lucas and Andrew, and a girl, Blake.