Chizik To Lead UNC's Defense

Gene Chizik has agreed to become Larry Fedora's new defensive coordinator, multiple sources confirmed to Inside Carolina on Thursday evening. The story was first reported by ESPN.

The contract is three years guaranteed and totals in excess of $750,000 per year, sources confirmed.

Chizik was the head coach at Auburn from 2009-12. The Tigers won the national championship in 2010. He served as the defensive coordinator at Auburn from 2002-04 and Texas from 2005-06, including the 2005 national championship season. His other stints of note are head coach at Iowa State (2007-08) and defensive coordinator at Central Florida (1998-2001).

Chizik has built, improved and led elite defensive units at his various stops. His defenses at Auburn and Texas were ranked Top 10 nationally from 2004-06. During that stretch he coached three straight winners of the Jim Thorpe Award, the honor given annually to the nation’s top collegiate defensive back. At Central Florida, he improved his defensive unit from 81st nationally to 16th in 2001.

Per sources, other candidates that Fedora contacted included D.J. Durkin at Florida, David Gibbs at Houston, and Barry Odom at Memphis.

Chizik will have the ability to make changes to UNC's current defensive staff, according to sources close to the situation.

The position opened with the departure of Vic Koenning last month. Koenning, who was hired by Larry Fedora upon his arrival in Chapel Hill, served as the associate head coach for defense for UNC from 2012-14.

In Koenning's third year running the defense, UNC finished the 2014 regular season ranked 115th nationally in total defense (495.7 ypg) and 116th in scoring defense (38.9). The Tar Heels allowed a school record 70 points and 789 total yards of offense in their loss to East Carolina in September. Half of UNC's opponents eclipsed the 500-yard threshold against Koenning's 4-2-5 defensive scheme.

Chizik, who turned 53 on Sunday, is married to Jonna, the daughter of his high school football coach at Clearwater (Fla.) High. Together they have three children, twin daughters and a son. Chizik played collegiately at Florida where he was a walk-on linebacker. He holds a bachelor's degree in education from Florida and a master's degree in guidance and counseling from Clemson.

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