March 13, 2003
TUCSON - University of Arizona football coach John Mackovic hired linebackers and wide receivers coaches today to fill out the Wildcat staff for 2003, attracting two former coordinators for the assistantships.
Mackovic made major additions to the staff by hiring Craig Bray, defensive coordinator at Oregon State for the past three seasons, and Mike Borich, offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Brigham Young the past two seasons. Bray will coach inside linebackers and Borich will coach UA receivers.
OSU's defenses under Bray ranked best in the Pac-10 and No. 20 nationally in 2000, also rating best in the conference and 16th nationally in scoring defense. The Beavers rated as the third-best defense in the league in 2001. In 2002 Bray's defense finished the year No. 9 in Division I-A in rushing defense and were second in the league in total defense and scoring defense. The 2000 club intercepted 22 passes.
Borich earned a Division I-A offensive coordinator of the year honor following the Cougars' 12-2 season in 2001 and was receivers coach for the Chicago Bears the previous two years in 1999-2000, notably when the tandem of Bobby Engram and Marcus Robinson set a club record with a combined 172 catches.
"Just as important as having good players, teaching and motivating athletes to perform at a high level is fundamental to our success. With Craig Bray and Mike Borich, we have landed two outstanding coaches who will positively impact our football team immediately," Mackovic said.
Bray also coached in the Pac-10 at Washington State for eight seasons and has been in the profession since 1975 when he started as wide receivers coach for his alma mater, Nevada-Las Vegas.
"Craig Bray knows the Pac-10, and he knows how to stop our opponents. His success at Washington State and Oregon State are but two examples of his career achievements. He is one of the most respected defensive coaches in our conference. His defenses were recognized for their aggressive attitude to the game, and we can use that approach as we re-design our team. With (coordinator) Mike Hankwitz and Craig we have solidified our defensive staff with proven winners," Mackovic said.
Bray, 51, joined the Nevada-Reno staff after his year at UNLV to coach the Wolf Pack secondary for two seasons in 1978-79, then moved to Northern Arizona to coach the secondary from 1980-83. He joined Dennis Erickson's staff in the same capacity at Idaho from 1984-85, followed Erickson to Wyoming in 1986, moved with Erickson to Washington State from 1987-88.
"I'm excited because I've known Mike Hankwitz and know his reputation as a coach," Bray said of joining the UA defensive group.
"I always liked the UA and Tucson, and once I visited and saw the facilities and the support the program receives, I decided it would be a good place where I could enjoy coaching," he said.
When Erickson took the Miami Dolphins job in 1989, Bray spent spring on that staff, but returned to the Northwest to take a coordinator's post under John L. Smith at Idaho, also coaching safeties from 1989-93. He joined Mike Price's staff at Washington State as secondary coach and spent six more years in Pullman as secondary coach until re-joining Erickson at Oregon State in 2000 as defensive coordinator and secondary coach.
A native of Yreka, Calif., Bray lettered three times in football as a wide receiver and defensive back, plus earned four letters in basketball at Yreka High School. He attended the College of Siskiyous from 1970-72 and played two years before transferring to UNLV and starting two years as a receiver in 1973-74. He earned his bachelor's degree in secondary education in 1975.
While at Idaho, Bray's defense was ranked No. 7 nationally, at Washington State he coached nine players who became professionals, and at Oregon State cornerback Dennis Weathersby earned All-America honors and tackle Eric Manning was an All-Pac-10 pick.
Bray is married to the former Kaprice Rupp, a former WSU head volleyball coach. The couple has two sons, Josh, 22, and Trenton, 20. Josh attends OSU and Trent is a sophomore-to-be scholarship linebacker for the Beavers.
The linebacker position at Arizona becomes a critical key to Arizona's defensive efforts in 2003 with the program's move from the double-eagle flex to a 3-4 alignment, and Bray directed a multiple scheme with a 4-3 base defense at Oregon State. Hankwitz will coach the Wildcats' outside linebackers, with Marty Long coaching the line and Steve Bernstein the secondary.
Borich, 37, was a receiver at Snow Junior College and Western Illinois University, where he helped the Leathernecks set 17 offensive school records and earned team most valuable player honors as a senior.
"Mike Borich is the most prepared and knowledgeable receiver coach I have ever interviewed. Our receivers are in for a real treat," Mackovic said. He will team and motivate them to be their best every day of the year. Mike has coached elite athletes at all levels, and his time in the NFL has given him the experience of competing at the highest level," Mackovic added.
"I'm excited and fired up," Borich said. "Coach Mackovic is the kind of guy you can learn from. He has a mountain of football knowledge and I can't wait to get involved.
"I'm a football nut - I eat, breathe and sleep football. I know that Arizona has a history of exciting football and has some outstanding athletes who have the ability to beat anyone at any time. We'll work hard to put a good product on the field," Borich said.
He earned his bachelor's degree from WIU in 1989 and joined the coaching ranks as the receivers coach at New Hampshire for two years, 1989-90. He then coached a diverse offensive group - tight ends, receivers and running backs - at Northeastern University for four seasons from 1991-94.
After Borich's stint at Northeastern, he worked with one of the nation's most prolific passing programs as receivers coach at Louisiana Tech from 1995 to 1998. He capped his four years by coaching the 1998 Biletnikoff Award winner, Troy Edwards, who sent an NCAA single-game record with 21 receptions for 405 yards against Nebraska in the Eddie Robinson Kickoff Classic.
Edwards, one of four eventual National Football League players Borich has coached, caught 140 passes for 1,996 yards and 27 touchdowns that year.
Borich and his wife, the former Christine Cook, have three daughters, Macall, 8, Tatum, 7, and Payton, 1, and a son, Joe, 6.
Bray replaces Charlie Camp, who left earlier this month to take a linebackers job at Oregon State, and Borich replaces Rob Ianello, who left several weeks ago to coach tight ends at Wisconsin. Mackovic said football operations director Dan Berezowitz would become the recruiting coordinator, a chore handled by Ianello.