Neil McGrath
Neil McGrath
Title: Assistant Coach - Linebackers
Phone: 401/863-3841
Position: Assistant Coach - Defensive Line
Recruiting Area: AL, AR, CT, Western FL, LA, Western MA, MS

Neil McGrath enters his 17th season on the Brown coaching staff, the first 16 years as Defensive Line Coach, and was recently named the Bears' Linebackers Coach. McGrath had developed the defensive front line to where it is consistently among the best in the Ivy League.

McGrath helped two-time first team All-Ivy and All-New England defensive end Richard Jarvis '17.5 into one of the nation's top players. Jarvis was a finalist for the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and a participant in the 2018 Senior Bowl.

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 and are members of the collegiate coaching ranks, Clay at BRown as its defensive lien coach, and Sam at Duke.

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)
  • 2015  Richard Jarvis (Honorable Mention DE)
  • 2016  Richard Jarvis (First Team DE)
  • 2017  Richard Jarvis (First Team DE; Finalist for Defensive Player of the Year)