MACON, Ga. - Mercer head football coach Bobby Lamb announced the addition of Grant Cain and Justin Brown to the program's coaching staff in an announcement made Wednesday. Cain joins the staff as a defensive assistant while Brown is in line to serve as defensive line coach.
"At the time we began looking at Grant, he had several offers elsewhere," Lamb said. "He worked at Coastal Carolina with a coach that started that program from scratch, so he brings knowledge from that standpoint. As the main recruiter for Coastal Carolina in the state of Georgia north of I-20, he holds important ties to the Georgia football community. He is also a Georgia native and played at Harrison High School, so he has a great name in-state that will help with our recruiting efforts."
Cain begins at Mercer after a seven-year post at Coastal Carolina, where he held various positions on the Chanticleers' staff. His stint at Coastal Carolina began in 2005, when he was hired as a graduate assistant coach under then head coach David Bennett.
Cain parlayed his role as a graduate assistant coach into a full-time coaching position in 2007 after graduating with a master's degree in instructional technology. His appointment as outside linebackers ushered in an era of consistency on the defensive side of the ball as the team ranked among the nation's top-23 programs in tackles-for-loss in 2007, led the conference in TFL in 2008 and paced the league in sacks in 2009.
In 2010, Cain was promoted to coach both the defensive ends and outside linebackers, and continued to produce immediate dividends in his assigned defensive areas. Despite suffering a season-ending injury to preseason all-conference selection Quinton Davis, Cain helped develop senior DE Kent Harper from a third-string backup into one of the league's premier defensive players.
Harper finished the 2010 season with an average of 10.0 tackles per game, ranking third among Big South players and 16th-best in the nation before landing All-Big South second team honors.
His time at Coastal Carolina saw the team reach unprecedented success, capturing Big South Championships in 2005, 2006 and 2010. Overall, his work helped the Chanticleers rack up a gaudy 47-33 overall record while becoming a perennial league power with a 22-13 Big South record in those seven seasons.
Over seven seasons at Coastal Carolina, Cain also contributed instruction for the special teams units and inside linebackers.
Prior to his time at Coastal Carolina, Cain spent the 2005 spring and summer seasons as a defensive assistant with the Colorado Crush of the Arena Football league. His efforts helped lead the Crush to its first AFL title in the franchise's third year of existence.
Cain's playing days saw him earn team captain honors in his senior season at Catawba College, an NCAA Division II member of the South Atlantic Conference. His four seasons as a student-athlete saw the Indians make national playoff appearances in every year, including advancement to the semifinal round in the fall of 2001.
A 2003 graduate of Catawba with a bachelor's degree in business administration, Cain is married to the former Shauna Koontz. The couple has a son, Caleb.
Brown brings his talents to Mercer after most recently coaching at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. During the 2011 season, Brown held the position of defensive tackles coach with the Blue Hose, helping the team elevate to a program-best third place Big South finish in his only year with the team. The landmark season also saw the Blue Hose finish the year with back-to-back wins, marking the first time since 2008 the team accomplished that feat.
"Justin played for me at Furman after I recruited him out of Warner Robins High School where he was a standout," Lamb said. "With him having local ties here in the middle-Georgia area and playing for a prominent program like Warner Robins, I've had my eye on him as an up-and-coming coach who will work well in our system."
Before working at Presbyterian, Brown was an assistant coach at Hillcrest High School, where he coached the defensive line and also was the Junior Varsity Defensive Coordinator. While coaching at Hillcrest, he also spent time as an Assistant Sports Director at the YMCA of Greenville. He was a four-year starter at nose guard for Furman under Lamb and served as team captain in his senior campaign.
In 2007, Brown earned Sports Network All-American Honorable Mention honors and was a College Sporting New Preseason All-American. Other awards came in the form of the 2006 Furman Freshman of the Year and All-Southern Conference selections in 2006 and 2007.
Brown graduated from Furman in 2007 with a bachelor of arts in religion and communication studies.