Neil McGrath enters his 14th season with the Bears as the Defensive Line Coach, and has developed the defensive front line to where it is consistently among the best in the Ivy League.
In 2013, McGrath's defensive line was led by first team All-Ivy tackle Michael Yules, a first team Academic All-American. His 2010 defensive line featured Clayton McGrath '12, who led the Ivy League in tackles for a loss and ranked third in sacks, while earning All-Ivy honors, and All-Ivy tackle Jeremy Raducha, who ranked fifth in the Ivy League in tackles for a loss.
His 2008 defensive line helped the Bears allow just 77.1 yards per game, fourth best in the nation, and first in the Ivy League. First team All-Ivy tackle David Howard and two-time second team All-Ivy defensive end James Develin helped the Bears to their second Ivy Championship in the last four years.
McGrath also helped develop Howard into a seventh round NFL draft choice of the Tennessee Titans.
His 2005 Ivy Championship defensive line was led by All-American and All-Ivy defensive tackle Pat Curran with 10 tackles for a loss and four quarterback sacks as the Bears amassed 68 tackles for a loss and 28 sacks as a team. In 2004, he built a formidable group that helped lead the Ivy League in sacks, including the Ivy League leader in tackles for a loss, defensive end James Frazier.
McGrath came to Brown from the University of Massachusetts, where he was the defensive coordinator for the Minutemen under Head Coach Mark Whipple for two years. His defense at UMass ranked first in total defense in the Atlantic 10 during the 1999 season.
Prior to coaching at Massachusetts, McGrath worked at the University of Maine, where he spent five seasons (1995-1999) as defensive coordinator. He was instrumental in the drastic turnaround of Maine’s defensive fortunes, as the Black Bears improved from 11th in the league in total defense in 1995 to fourth in McGrath’s second season. In 1997, Maine led the Atlantic 10 in turnover margin (+12), including 19 interceptions. The Black Bear defense also held opponents to a league-low 29 percent on fourth-down conversions during the 1997 season. In 1998, Maine led the league in sacks.
Prior to his time at Maine, McGrath spent 11 years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Boston University. He began as a part-time assistant in 1984, coaching outside linebackers and assisting with special teams. McGrath became a full-time assistant for the Terriers in 1988 and coached the defensive line, then added the responsibility of special teams coordinator in 1990. He also spent three seasons as Boston University’s recruiting coordinator, and coached linebackers for one year (1992). The Terriers advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs three times while McGrath was at Boston University, including his last two seasons in 1993 and 1994.
McGrath is a 1981 graduate of Boston University where he received a bachelor’s degree in education. McGrath earned four letters as a member of the Terrier football team, where he played with Bears’ defensive coordinator Mike Kelleher. He earned first team All-Yankee Conference honors at linebacker during his senior season in 1980, after leading Boston University to a record of 9-2 and the conference title. The Terriers posted an overall mark of 26-14-1 during McGrath’s four years on the team, winning a pair of Yankee Conference championships.
A resident of Longmeadow, Mass., he and his wife, Kim, have three children, Clayton, a member of the Brown Class of 2012, Sam, a member of the Brown Class of 2012, and Hannah. Both boys played football at Brown.
All-Ivy Players Coached by McGrath
- 2003 Jesse Hawkins (First Team DE)
- 2004 James Frazier (Second Team DE)
- 2005 Pat Curran (First Team DT), James Frazier (Second Team DE)
- 2007 Kai Brown (Second Team DE), James Develin (Second Team DE)
- 2008 David Howard (First Team DT), James Develin (Second Team DE)
- 2009 David Howard (First Team DT); James Develin (First Team DE); Nate Lovett (Second Team P)
- 2010 Jeremy Raducha (Second Team DT); Clayton McGrath (Honorable Mention DE)
- 2011 Kyle Rettig (First Team DT); Clayton McGrath (Second Team DE)
- 2012 Ross Walthall (Second Team DL); Michael Yules (Second Team DE)
- 2013 Michael Yules (First Team DT); John Bumpus (Second Team DE)
- 2014 Zack Sparber (Second Team DT); Chad Berry (Honorable Mention DE)