Three Cincinnati Football Assistants Dubbed ‘Rising Stars’ by On3

Three Cincinnati Football Assistants Dubbed ‘Rising Stars’ by On3

Three Cincinnati Football Assistants Dubbed ‘Rising Stars’ by On3

Zach Step

Associate AD / Communications

CINCINNATI – University of Cincinnati football assistant coaches Mike Brown, Colin Hitchler and Darren Paige were named “rising-star assistants you need to know” by On3 earlier this month.

The trio is among the 65-person list by the national college sports web site. The complete list can be viewed HERE.

Cincinnati and Ole Miss were the only two programs with three assistants on the list.

Brown joined the Bearcats as wide receivers coach in 2019 and added passing game coordinator duties this offseason. Brown’s impact was a major part of UC’s record-breaking offense in 2021. UC set school records for points (516) and touchdowns (70), while senior wide receiver Alec Pierce garnered second-team all-conference honors before being drafted in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Brown was a two-time All-America selection at Liberty as a wide receiver and quarterback and played three years in the NFL before starting a coaching career.

Hitschler enters his first season as the co-defensive coordinator at Cincinnati in 2022 and his fifth season overall with the program. He started at UC in 2018 and became the safeties coach in 2020. As UC’s safeties coach, he led the development of three NFL draft picks at the position over the last two years, including Bryan Cook, who was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round in 2022. Hitschler has helped guide one of the nation’s top pass defenses during his time in Clifton. In 2021, the Bearcats finished No. 1 in the nation in pass efficiency defense (103.37) and No. 2 in passing yards allowed (169.2). UC ranked also No. 5 in the nation in scoring defense (16.5) and No. 10 in total defense (318.4).

Paige enters his second season as Cincinnati’s running backs coach after he helped Jerome Ford to one of the greatest rushing seasons in school history in 2021. Ford rushed for 1,319 yards and a school-record-tying 19 touchdowns last fall. Ford collected AAC Championship Game MVP honors after rushing for 187 yards and two scores against Houston. He was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Paige’s rushing attack averaged 5.2 yards per carry, which ranked second in the American and No. 18 in the nation.


Led by the reigning consensus National Coach of the Year Luke Fickell and 12 returning starters, the Bearcats are the two-time defending AAC Champions and are coming off of a 13-1 season that culminated in a trip to the 2021 College Football Playoff. With a 44-7 mark since the start of 2018, Cincinnati’s 86% winning percentage ranks among the nation’s Top 5 winning percentages over the last four years.

Cincinnati opens the 2022 season at 3:30 pm ET on Sept. 3 against Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., before coming home to Nippert Stadium to welcome Kennesaw State at 3:30 pm on Sept. 10.

While season tickets are sold out for the first time in school history, fans can still purchase single-game tickets for as low as $25 HERE. Fans can also join the waiting list for 2023 season tickets.


Cincinnati will officially join the Big 12 on July 1, 2023. The Bearcats are entering into a new era as a Power Five school, and in joining the Big 12, every competitive advantage matters for UC’s 450-plus student-athletes.

As a significant part of the university’s Next, Now Campaign, UC Athletics’ Day One Ready Campaign is a $100 million fundraising initiative that’s focused on achieving Next Level Success in the new conference. With fans’ support for signature facilities, student-athlete wellness and championship readiness, the Bearcats won’t just be prepared to compete on their first official day in the Big 12.

They’ll be ready to bring championships home to Cincinnati.

Donate to the Day One Ready Campaign here.

For all the latest information on Cincinnati Athletics, please visit For up-to-the-minute updates, follow Cincinnati Athletics on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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