Tar Heels name Jim Fleming defensive backs coach

CHAPEL HILL --- University of North Carolina head football coach John Bunting has hired Jim Fleming, head coach of the 2001 Division I-AA mid-major national champions, to coach the defensive backs.

Fleming comes to UNC after two seasons as head coach at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. A 1982 graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., Fleming led Sacred Heart to an 11-0 record this past fall. The Pioneers won the Northeast Conference and defeated Duquesne, 31-15, in the ECAC Bowl on December 1st. Sacred Heart was ranked No. 2 in the nation in scoring, pass efficiency defense and turnover margin, No. 4 in total defense and No. 7 in scoring defense and passing yards allowed. The Pioneers scored eight defensive touchdowns and the special teams units blocked eight kicks and scored five times. He was named the Northeast Conference Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.

"I am very impressed with Jim's coaching background," says Bunting. "He's coached a number of different positions, has been a coordinator and obviously has been a head coach. He is an aggressive recruiter and has the communications skills needed to deal with today's student-athlete. I was given recommendations on Jim from both coaches on our staff and by other coaches outside our program. I am pleased he is joining our staff."

In 2000, Sacred Heart posted a then-program-best 10-1 record, earning him the NEC's and the American Football Coaches Association*s Division I-AA Region I Coach of the Year honors. Sacred Heart's eight-game improvement represented the best turnaround in Division I that year, following a 2-9 record in 1999.

Defensively, the Pioneers ranked second nationally in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 13.4 points per game.

In 1998-99, Fleming was the defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at Villanova University. Prior to that, he spent four years at East Carolina. He coached outside linebackers in 1994 and defensive backs from 1995-97. The 1995 team finished 9-3 and won the Liberty Bowl, featuring a defense that intercepted 19 passes and was seventh in the nation in pass efficiency. In 1996, ECU was 8-3 and finished first in the country in turnover margin. In his final year in Greenville, the Pirates were second in Conference USA in pass defense.

Fleming has also made coaching stops at South Carolina (graduate assistant in 1985-86), Boise State (1987-92) and Brown (1993).

In 1991, Boise State led the Big Sky Conference in all major defensive categories. Boise State was first nationally in run defense and third nationally in turnover margin (42 takeaways). He was also responsible for special teams, and the kickoff return unit was ranked first in the conference and third nationally. The 1990 squad advanced to the semfinals of the Division I-AA playoffs and finished 10-4. Boise State led the Big Sky in scoring defense and blocked 12 punts.

Fleming, born Sept. 23, 1959, in New York City, and his wife, Leslie, have four children.


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