Editor’s note: This is the seventh of a 10-part summer series rating the top D-I college football coaches in the country. From position coaches to head coach, Dennis Dodd and you, the community, will compile an All-Star team of the nation’s top 10 coaches. Next up: Offensive coordinators. Vote now!
Brian Cabral, Colorado
Brian Cabral is supposed to be about linebackers. The position defines his career. But how do you limit a man’s livelihood to just a position?
For three years, Cabral lettered at linebacker for Colorado. For nine years, he played the position in the NFL. For 18 years, Cabral has coached linebackers at CU, helping produce some of the more well-known names in the sport: Butkus Award winner Matt Russell, NFL vets Greg Biekert, Chad Brown and Ted Johnson and, lately, Jordon Dizon who led the nation in total tackles in 2007. The man has both a Super Bowl (1985 Bears) and national championship ring (1990).
But he’s also a mentor to thousands of Polynesian kids who want to play football in the States. Cabral was born in Ft. Benning, Ga. but grew up in Hawaii. His heritage is definitely Polynesian. His dad, Walter, was the first Hawaiian to play at Notre Dame. Brian has recruited Samoa extensively and is somewhat of an icon in the islands where he grew up. He continues to work in the offseason all-Polynesian camps in the U.S.
“My experience is they’re the most popular people on the team,” Cabral once said of Polynesians. “They are easy-going but at the same time very passionate. It’s a game that they enjoy. It’s a game that fits their nature.”