U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. – Brian Knorr is returning to the Air Force Academy for his third stint as an assistant coach. Knorr joins the Falcons after six seasons at Wake Forest, including being the defensive coordinator from 2012-13. His title and role with the Falcons is to be determined.
“Brian Knorr is a tremendous addition to the Air Force Academy,” Air Force Head Football Coach Troy Calhoun said. “He’s a fine mentor for young people and superb coach. We wanted another leader of character to join our program that would embrace the standards of the Air Force Academy, understand the dedication of our cadets, and have a proven coaching background of achieving groups and teams. We certainly welcome Brian, Julie, and their three kids.”
Knorr, a 1986 Academy graduate, previously coached at the Academy from 1992-94 while on active duty in the Air Force and from 2005-07 for both former coach Fisher DeBerry and current head coach Troy Calhoun. He joined the Wake Forest staff in 2008.
Under Knorr, the Wake Forest excelled in forcing turnovers in 2012, tying for fourth-most in the ACC with 23 forced turnovers. The Deacons recovered 12 fumbles, tied for the second-most in the conference. Knorr’s defensive unit clamped down in the red zone, ranking in the top half of the ACC in red zone defense.
The 2012 defense played its best in ACC play, ranking in the top half of the conference in eight of 12 major defensive categories.
In 2011, Knorr’s first year coordinating the defense, the implementation of an aggressive 3-4 scheme led to resurgence in the Demon Deacon defense and an improvement in every defensive category. Four graduates of the 2011 squad took part in NFL camps, and two were drafted - Kyle Wilber in the fourth round by the Dallas Cowboys and Josh Bush in the sixth round by the New York Jets.
Prior to switching to the defensive side of the ball, Knorr coached the Wake Forest wide receivers for three seasons. He was responsible for the development of a young group of receivers who blossomed in 2009. Junior Marshall Williams was third in the ACC in receiving yards per game and fourth in receptions per game. Redshirt freshman Chris Givens led the nation’s frosh with eight touchdown receptions. Devon Brown led the team with 61 catches and also picked up 150 yards on the ground, with seven touchdowns.
In 2008, Knorr worked with a receiving corps that included D.J. Boldin who led the ACC with 81 receptions. It was also the second-highest total for receptions in a season ever turned in by a Deacon wide out. Boldin signed a free agent contract with the Detroit Lions following the 2008 season.
Knorr joined the Demon Deacon staff after working for three years at the Air Force Academy where he tutored the strong safeties and outside linebackers in 2005 and 2006 while mentoring the inside linebackers in 2007. His 2007 linebacker corps featured two All-Conference selections. The defense helped the Falcons to one of the best turnarounds in Division I FBS football in 2007.
Knorr earned a degree in management from the Academy and was a three-year letterman at quarterback for the Falcons. Air Force won 30 games during his three varsity years, marking the most successful three-year run in school history.
Following graduation, Knorr served a tour of duty in the Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where he earned his master’s in business administration from the University of Dayton in 1991. He returned to the Academy as a captain in 1992 and joined the coaching staff as the assistant offensive line coach, junior varsity head coach and administrative assistant to the head coach.
Knorr left the Academy in 1995 to join former Air Force assistant Jim Grobe and become the inside linebackers coach at Ohio University, where he led Ohio’s resurgence on the defensive front. While at Ohio, the Bobcat defense was ranked in the top five in the Mid-American Conference in scoring, rushing and total defense each year. In 1999, Grobe promoted Knorr to defensive coordinator. The 2000 Ohio defense was one of only five squads in the nation to hold opponents to less than 30 points in every contest.
In 2000, Knorr became the first Air Force Academy graduate to become a head football coach at the Division I level when he was named to succeed Grobe as head coach at Ohio. During Knorr’s tenure as head coach, he also coordinated the special teams to include a punt team that led the NCAA in punting in 2001.
Ohio’s punter, Dave Zastudil, earned All-America honors and went on to play with the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals. Knorr coached six players who would eventually play in the NFL.
The Bobcats were 11-35 during Knorr’s four seasons as head coach, including a 4-7 mark with a win at Kentucky in 2004. After four seasons at Ohio, Knorr returned to the Air Force Academy where he coached under Fisher DeBerry in 2005-06 and Troy Calhoun in 2007.
Knorr was born on Dec. 20, 1963 and is a native of Shawnee Mission, Kan. He and his wife Julie, a native of Fort Wayne, Ind., have a daughter Katie and twins Reagan and Brett.