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Arizona defensive coordinator Don Brown watches drills during a workout at the Dick Tomey Practice Fields.

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Arizona defensive coordinator Don Brown reportedly is the leading candidate for the head-coaching job at UMass, where he served as head coach from 2004-08.

Brown is nearing the end of his first season at the UA, where he has engineered a significant turnaround. The Wildcats rank fifth in the Pac-12 in total defense. They haven’t finished higher than eighth since the 2010 season.

Brown, 66, is from Spencer, Massachusetts. He led the Minutemen to a 43-19 record – the best five-year stretch in school history – at a time when they weren’t yet members of the Football Bowl Subdivision.

UMass has struggled since making that move in 2012, never posting a record better than 4-8. The Minutemen are 2-24 over the past three seasons.

Brown is arguably the most decorated defensive coordinator in UA history, having guided multiple units to top-12 national finishes in total defense over the past decade. He spent five seasons at Michigan before joining Jedd Fisch’s staff in January.

Arizona faces Washington State in Pullman on Friday night. The Wildcats were set to leave for the Palouse on Thursday afternoon.

Contact sports reporter Michael Lev at 573-4148 or mlev@tucson.com. On Twitter @michaeljlev 

This article originally ran on tucson.com.

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