CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- North Carolina's remarkable defensive turnaround has caught the attention of the Broyles Award.
Gene Chizik, UNC's first-year defensive coordinator, was announced as a finalist for the award on Monday, which is given annually to the nation's top assistant coach.
The Tar Heels were ranked one of the worst defenses in the country last year, but have seen drastic improvement - reducing points allowed per game from 39.0 in 2014 to 20.8 in 2015, and yards allowed per game from 497.8 in 2014 to 394.9 in 2015.
The other announced finalists were Kirby Smart of Alabama, Kendal Briles of Baylor, Brent Venables of Clemson, and Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma.
Chizik won the award in 2004 while at Auburn. The only prior North Carolina coach to be a finalist for the award (which was founded in 1996), was Carl Torbush in 1997.
The winner of the award will be announced on Dec. 8.