CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s revamp of its defensive coaching staff now includes the return of Gene Chizik, who led Auburn to a national championship as a head coach.
The school announced Saturday the hiring of Chizik as assistant head coach for defense as well as the return of Charlton Warren to serve as co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. They worked together on the UNC staff under Larry Fedora for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
The additions come after the school announced defensive coordinator Jay Bateman and assistant Jovan Dewitt won’t return to the staff next season, and the team would make “structural adjustments” to its coaching staff after last year’s defensive struggles.
Chizik worked under UNC coach Mack Brown as Texas’ defensive coordinator when the Longhorns won the national championship. He then led a one-year turnaround for Fedora on a UNC defense that ranked among the nation’s worst by surrendering 39 points and 497.8 yards per game in 2014, making the unit good enough for the Tar Heels to win an Atlantic Coast Conference division title and reach the league championship game.
Chizik stepped down after two seasons to spend time with his family in Alabama. In a statement Saturday, Chizik said he had numerous opportunities to return to coaching “but this one is the total package.”
Assistant coach and former UNC program great Dre’ Bly remains the cornerbacks coach for the Tar Heels.