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Brown, who has coached the Otago Mitre 10 Cup side for the past three seasons, will take up his role for the new season, and will add some Otago flavour to the Highlanders coaching team.
Brown (41) replaces Jon Preston who resigned from the role in late September.
Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark said Brown was a was a great addition to the coaching team.
"Cory is an outstanding fit for the role. He is a local guy who works well with players and somebody who has the experience in this sort of the position," Clark said.
"Plus with him and Derms [scrum coach Clarke Dermody] we have a couple of local players there who have have that local connection."
Brown said he was happy to get to the position.
"I’m just like any player, any coach. You want to move up the pecking order and perform at the next level," Brown said.
"I’ve really enjoyed my time with Otago and we have had a lot of fun."
Brown was involved in player development when he coached at the Connacht club in Ireland before he came back home to coach Otago.
Preston worked individually with players and worked around skill development and had limited input into the side’s game plan, but Brown’s role will be slightly different.
"I will be doing some of the stuff that JP [Preston] did but also doing some sightly different things. Being a lot more hands-on and contributing to the team more," he said.
"We have got some awesome players there. That was one of the attractions. To have the chance to work with some world-class players is a great opportunity."
The former halfback will join head coach Aaron Mauger, forwards coach Mark Hammett and defence coach Glenn Delaney in the coaching team.