UNC Hires Lovett As Assistant FB Coach

University of North Carolina head coach Butch Davis has hired John Lovett as the Tar Heels' special teams coordinator and defensive assistant. Lovett comes to Carolina with 18 years of experience as a defensive coordinator, including stops at Clemson, Auburn and Mississippi. Most recently, he was the defensive coordinator at Bowling Green from 2005-06.

"John has a tremendous amount of experience in the college game and is well respected throughout the country," says Davis. "As a recruiter, he has extensive knowledge of the Southeast and has a proven record as a talent evaluator. John will oversee all special teams and help develop our secondary. He is a great addition to our staff."

Davis also announced assistants Tommy Thigpen and Kenny Browning will coach linebackers and running backs, respectively. For Browning, it is his second stint on the offensive side of the ball after coaching tight ends from 2001-04. He was UNC's defensive tackles coach from 1994-2000 and 2005-06.

In addition to coordinating the defense at Bowling Green, Lovett coached linebackers in 2005 and defensive backs in 2006. In his first year at BGSU, Lovett's defense ranked 20th in the country in turnover margin.

The defensive coordinator at Clemson from 2002-04, Lovett helped develop defensive backs Justin Miller and Brian Mance into All-Americas. Miller was later chosen by the New York Jets in the second round of the NFL Draft.

In 2004, Clemson was 11th in the nation in pass defense efficiency (103.4), 23rd in pass defense (191.6), 26th in total defense (327.3) and 29th in scoring defense (20.8). In 2003, his defense was a major reason Clemson finished the year with nine wins and a top 25 national ranking. The defense allowed just 19.2 points per game, one of the top 25 figures in the nation. The pass defense ranked second in the ACC, while the rush defense allowed just 78 yards per game over the last four games of the season, all Tiger victories.

In his first season at Clemson in 2002, the program made a strong improvement in pass defense, ranking among the top 15 with 21 interceptions. Miller (5th) and Mance (15th) ranked among the top 15 players in the country and held the top-two spots in the ACC in interceptions.

Lovett was the defensive coordinator at Auburn from 1999-2001 and helped lead the Tigers to bowl games each of his last two years. His 2000 defense ranked 14th in the nation in total defense and 15th in rushing defense, helping the Tigers to a 9-4 record, the Southeastern Conference West Division title and a berth in the Citrus Bowl against Michigan.

In 2001, Auburn earned a berth in the Peach Bowl opposite North Carolina. The Tigers topped then-No. 1 Florida, 23-20, that season. Lovett's defense held the Gators to 20 points, -36 yards rushing and 328 yards of total offense, season lows in all three categories for Steve Spurrier's team that finished the season ranked third in the nation. Lovett worked under Tommy Tuberville for seven seasons, four at Mississippi (1995-98) and three at Auburn (1999-2001).

Lovett coached the secondary all four years he was at Ole Miss, including the 1997 season when the Rebels had an 8-4 overall record, including a victory in the Motor City Bowl. Prior to coming to Mississippi in 1995, Lovett worked as defensive coordinator at the University of Maine for two stints. He first went to Orono in 1985 and severed as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach from 1985-88. He also served as defensive coordinator for the Black Bears in 1994. The 1987 team won the conference championship and qualified for the Division I-AA playoffs.

Lovett began his career in coaching at Saint Joseph's Region High School in Montvale, N.J., in 1976. He started his college career in 1978 at Union College in New York. He served as a part-time coach from 1978-80, and then was elevated to defensive coordinator status in 1982. Lovett spent the 1983 season in the Ivy League at Brown, and then moved back to New York to work under Joe Walton as the New York Jets' defensive quality control coach in 1984. In 1989, he joined head coach Tim Murphy at the University of Cincinnati, where he remained until 1992. In 1993, he coached at UNLV as the secondary coach.

Lovett graduated from C.W. Post College in December of 1973. He came to the school as a walk-on, but quickly earned a scholarship and served as the team's co-captain as a senior in 1973. He played for Dom Amile, who is now the Director of Football Operations for the Indianapolis Colts. At the completion of his career, he enrolled in graduate school at the University of Denver and he earned his Master's Degree in 1975. The next year he entered the coaching profession.

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