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UNLV announces hire of Texas WR coach Brennan Marion as OC

The architect of the Go-Go offense will have his first chance to implement it at the FBS level.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 29 Valero Alamo Bowl Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Fallout from the short tenure of Bobby Petrino as the UNLV Rebels offensive coordinator that lasted less than three weeks before leaving for the Texas A&M Aggies hit the Texas Longhorns on Sunday with news breaking that wide receivers coach and pass game coordinator Brennan Marion will replace Petrino under Barry Odom.

247Sports reported that UNLV has hired Marion, who was officially announced as the offensive coordinator for the Rebels on Tuesday.

“I’m excited to welcome Coach Marion to Las Vegas because his innovative ideas on offense will give us an advantage,” Odom said. “Our offensive staff will be able to blend together their ideas to schematically give our student-athletes an exciting and explosive offense to play in at UNLV. Coach Marion is a perfect fit for our program and I look forward to watching him develop and mentor our guys.”

The move ends Marion’s time on the Forty Acres after a little more than a year and continues the fast ascent of the 35-year-old assistant whose only multi-year stint during his coaching career came as the Howard offensive coordinator from 2017 to 2018, a tenure that included a win over UNLV in his first game, considered one of the biggest upsets in college football history.

Marion is a Pennsylvania native who starred in the junior college ranks before landing at Tulsa, where he was a two-time All-Conference USA selection in Gus Malzahn’s offense. Two ACL tears helped derail Marion’s shot at a professional career, so he transitioned quickly into coaching, orchestrating remarkable turnarounds at two high schools as he developed his own unique offensive attack, eventually called the GoGo offense, which blends aspects of the triple option and modern spread schemes.

In 2015, Marion reunited with Todd Graham, his coach at Tulsa, serving as a quality control assistant at Arizona State. The following year, he coached the running backs at Oklahoma Baptist before receiving his first big break by landing the offensive coordinator gig at Howard, where he spent two seasons under former Virginia head coach Mike London.

In Marion’s second season at Howard, the Bison led the MEAC in scoring offense, total yards, passing offense, and yards per completion.

Marion then spent one season as the offense coordinator at William & Mary before reuniting with Graham once again as the wide receivers coach at Hawaii, where Marion developed All-MWC wide receiver Calvin Turner.

At Pittsburgh, Marion helped Jordan Addison win the 2021 Biletnikoff Award after recording 100 catches for 1.593 yards and 17 touchdowns as the Panthers wide receivers cut their drops from 33 in 11 games to 22 in 13 games.

When Texas hired Marion, he was also reportedly a candidate for jobs at Oregon and Colorado in addition to receiving some consideration to take over as the offensive coordinator for Pittsburgh.

The biggest impact Marion made at Texas was in recruiting, aiding the Longhorns in landing consensus five-star prospect Johntay Cook and top-100 recruits Ryan Niblett and DeAndre Moore Jr. in addition to transfer wide receiver Isaiah Neyor shortly after arriving in Austin.

Cook appeared to react to the news on Sunday.

Potential replacements for Marion include Arizona State wide receivers coach and pass game coordinator Ra’Shaad Samples, who spent 2018 as an assistant wide receivers coach at Texas, and Texas Tech wide receivers coach and pass game coordinator Emmett Jones, the former head coach at South Oak Cliff. Unfortunately, Oklahoma announced its hire of Jones on Tuesday.