Brian Stewart was named Rice's new Defensive Coordinator on January 18, 2017, returning to a region he knows well from previous stops in his coaching career. He brings seven years of experience in coordinating defensive effort at both the FBS and NFL levels in addition to 25 years of coaching acumen to South Main.
Stewart was a member the Houston Texans inaugural coaching staff (2002-03), then after three seasons with the San Diego Chargers, he returned to Texas to become the DC of the Dallas Cowboys for two years (2007-08) and later served as the defensive coordinator at the University of Houston (2010-11).
He came to Rice after spending the previous two seasons coaching secondary at the University of Nebraska. He coached the entire secondary in 2015 before concentrating on the cornerbacks the following year.
Last season, his corners led the way as the Huskers improved 78 spots to finish 30th in the nation in pass efficiency defense while closing the year tied for 14th with 16 interceptions. Junior cornerback Chris Jones earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors and was named to Pro Football's Focus' early-season All-America team.
In his first season in Lincoln, Stewart coached an NU secondary that had seven different starters in 2015, including 23 starts from freshmen or sophomores. Safety Nate Gerry led the Huskers in tackles and interceptions and earned third-team All-Big Ten honors, while cornerback Joshua Kalu was an honorable-mention all-conference pick.
Stewart joined the Nebraska staff after three seasons as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at the University of Maryland where he helped the Terrapins to a pair of bowl appearances. The attacking Terrapin defense tallied more than 30 sacks each of his last two seasons.
Defensive back Will Likely was a standout under Stewart's guidance, leading the Big Ten in interceptions in 2014 en route to first-team all-conference honors. In Stewart's first year at Maryland in 2012, his defense finished in the top three in the ACC in total defense, rushing defense and pass defense and was 21st nationally in total defense.
Stewart re-joined the college ranks as the defensive coordinator at the University of Houston in 2010 and 2011. Stewart's stingy defense played a key role in the Cougars' 13-1 record and No. 14 final national ranking in 2011, ending the year ranked in the top 15 nationally in red zone scoring, interceptions, tackles for loss, takeaways and opponent completion percentage.
Prior to joining the Cougars, he spent the previous eight years in the NFL, including a two-year stint as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008. As the Cowboys' defense coordinator, Stewart guided Dallas to two top-10 rankings in fewest yards allowed. He helped the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and NFC East divisional title in 2007 and saw an NFL-best five defenders make the Pro Bowl that year--DeMarcus Ware, Roy Williams, Greg Ellis, Ken Hamlin and Terrence Newman
Stewart also served as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles (2009), San Diego Chargers (2004-06) and the Houston Texas (2002-03). Each of the teams Stewart coached in his final six NFL seasons won at least nine games, including three division champions and four playoff teams. During his time in the NFL, Stewart helped 14 players make Pro Bowl appearances.
Before his stint in the National Football League, Stewart had college assistant coaching stops at Syracuse, Missouri, San Jose State, Northern Arizona and Cal Poly. Stewart serves as the president of the Urban Football Coaches Association, conducting an annual coaches' clinic in Los Angeles. Stewart graduated from Nogales High School in La Puente, Calif., and remains active there, conducting a free youth football camp there.
He is a graduate of Northern Arizona where he played defensive back.
He and wife Kimberly are the parents of three daughters, Leila, Mya and Zara.