Alternate History

Brian Billups (Napoleon's World)

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Brian Robert Billups (born 3 May, 1967) is the current head coach of the Maryland Terrapins football team, a position he has held since the 2008 season. Prior to this, he was the offensive coordinator for the Alabama Crimson Tide from 2003-2007, working under head coach Bobby McGrady. Billups is the son of former South Carolina head coach Bobby Billups, Jr. and the grandson of Texas legend Bobby Billups, Sr., and is the nephew of former South Carolina defensive coordinator and Kentucky head coach Hank Billups.

Early Life

Brian Robert Billups was born on May 3, 1967 to Bobby Billups, Jr. and Amy Ryan Billups in Sutton, Texas. At the time of his birth, his father was head coach of Sutton Capital High School, but two years later his father became an offensive coach at the University of Texas, where his grandfather was the head coach until his retirement following the 1974 season. Brian was a mainstay at games, never missing a single Longhorns game until he and his family moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 1980. There, he starred at onetime football powerhouse Dreher High School as a wide receiver, free safety and kick returner, and in his senior season in 1984 he led the state of South Carolina in receptions by a high school athlete. Dreher lost in the semifinals, failing to win its first state title since the 1950s, with Billups as a team captain. Billups also played basketball in high school.

Early Career

Despite being offered scholarships by several Atlantic and Southern power schools, including by his father at South Carolina, Billups played his college football as a wide receiver at the University of Louisville, where he was a four-year standout who led the team in receptions his senior season. Billups was hired as an offensive graduate assistant immediately out of college in 1989 by West Virginia head coach Bobby Bowden, facing his father and uncle on the South Carolina staff for the first time that season.

In 1992, after three years on Bowden's staff, he was hired as wide receivers coach by his uncle, Hank Billups, at Kentucky, working with the receivers there until he was hired as co-offensive coordinator at Iowa State prior to the 1995 season, at only the age of 28. At Iowa State, Billups oversaw a prolific passing game in 1995 and 1996, years in which the Cyclones went undefeated in conference play.

Considered a hot coaching candidate in the ensuing years, Billups remained at Iowa State, hoping to be made head coach-in-waiting. After the 1998 season, however, he left to become full offensive coordinator at Kentucky under his uncle. From 1999-2002, he managed the offense, which declined from its previous output somewhat, and after his uncle retired in 2002, Billups took a job at Alabama to serve the same position after a staff shakeup that offseason by Bobby McGrady. Due to the mediocre offensive performances at Kentucky, in particular in 2001 and 2002, his hiring was criticized by many at Alabama in the winter of 2003 when it was initially announced.


Billups was put in charge of integrating redshirt freshman quarterback Vince Young into the offense and building an attack based on his strengths in 2003, and he crafted a read-option spread attack modeled heavily on the successful one used at Alabama archrival Mississippi with Julious Everridge. The game plan worked, with Young being named SouthCo Freshman of the Year and the Tide having a rebound season, winning nine games and placing second in the division. The Tide advanced to the 2004 Peach Bowl, where they defeated North Carolina 34-6. The next season, the Tide went 11-1 in the regular season, helped by a dominant defense and Young's offensive prowess, and won the Sugar Bowl. Following this season, Billups was named as a potential head coach at several high profile vacancies, but decided to stay at Alabama in order to win a national championship.

The controversial 2005 snubbing of Alabama ended what was otherwise a prolific season on a sour note, and Billups heavily considered taking the open Texas job, but eventually decided that his grandfather was "the only Billups fit to coach in Sutton." Alabama put together an undefeated record and one of the greatest offensive seasons in college football history in 2006, including a Bosch Trophy for Vince Young, and Billups was named Assistant Coach of the Year. Following the dominating national championship victory over Washington in January 2007, he interviewed at Virginia, Oregon (one day before they announced the hire of Suzuki Yamata), Chicago, Huron State, North Carolina State and Havana. After nearly agreeing to terms with Chicago, Billups decided that he was unfamiliar recruiting the Midwest and decided to remain at Alabama, receiving a large raise that offseason.

With Young gone and many offensive starters (including 1000-yard back and Bosch runner-up Ed Giles) graduated with him, Billups had to retool the offense. He installed a drop-back spread attack, running a two quarterback system in early 2007 until he could settle on a player. After the third game of the season, he permanently went with sophomore Derek Chaffey. While Alabama had two 1,000 yard rushers again (Jo-Jo Jenkins and Julius Northcutt), the offense revolved around two-time All-American wide receiver Mike Foster, who put together one of the greatest seasons in history by a receiver, winning multiple awards including the Bosch Trophy. The Crimson Tide won their second consecutive national championship in the 2008 Silver Bowl over Sequoyah and Billups became a hot coaching commodity yet again.


By 2008, Billups decided he was ready to become a head coach and had also decided that he did not want to coach in the Southern Conference against Alabama, and thus quickly removed himself from consideration for the vacant Texas A&M job. He was heavily coveted by Pacifica State, which offered to make him the highest-paid coach in the United States, but he doubted if he could bring top-tier talent to Vernon, PC and whether he knew the recruiting landscape on the West Coast. The other schools going after him were Illinois and Maryland - while he was intrigued by the Illinois job, he eventually decided on Maryland due to their proximity to the rich recruiting areas of Virginia, North Carolina and around D.C. and his ability to promise Florida and Cuba players the ability to play occasionally in front of their families in-conference. He also liked the challenge of making Maryland a national championship contender again.

Personal Life

Billups married his college girlfriend Debbie Mayer in 1991. In an interview in 2008, he revealed that he had privately converted to Judaism prior to the marriage for ceremonial purposes and that their children were being raised in the Jewish tradition. He has three children - twin daughters Kelly and Amy, born June 1994, and son Jackson, born December 1996. His son Jackson is regarded as one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation for the 2015 recruiting class. He lives with his family in College Park, Maryland.

Billups has an older sister, Sarah, and a younger brother, Bobby Billups III.

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