Downing was the Head Coach at Northern Colorado from 2006-2010 and before that he was TE Coach & Recruiting Coordinator at Nebraska for 3 years (2003-2005). For the 6 years before that, he had been Asst. Head Coach/ RB Coach & Special Teams Coordinator at Purdue from 1997-2002. His previous 10 seasons had been at Wyoming, 2 of which he was Special Teams Coordinator. Downing has coached six FBS first-team All-Americans, the 2001 Ray Guy Award winner, the Ray Guy Award finalist in 2003 and semifinalist in 2005, the Groza Award finalist in 2001 and semifinalist in 1996, and the Mosi Tatupu Special Teams Award finalist in 1998 and 2001.