Chizik to coach Tar Heels' defense

Jan 2, 2015 6:47 PM

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - Former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik has accepted an offer to coach North Carolina's struggling defense, a person familiar with the situation said Friday.

The person said Chizik will receive a 3-year contract. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the school won't make an official announcement until the deal is finalized and approved by its board of trustees.

Chizik will replace Vic Koenning, who was associate head coach for defense the past three seasons. Head coach Larry Fedora said last month that he and Koenning had reached a "mutual decision" that Koenning would pursue other college jobs after the Tar Heels had one of the worst defensive years in school history.

Chizik coached Auburn to the 2010 national championship with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton.

The move, first reported by ESPN, marks Chizik's first coaching job since being fired after four years as Auburn's head coach.

Chizik was to receive a $7.5 million buyout - paid in monthly installments - after his November 2012 firing following an 0-8 record in Southeastern Conference play.

He was also the Tigers' defensive coordinator from 2002-04 and served as co-defensive coordinator at Texas during the Longhorns' 2005 national-title run before a two-year stint as head coach at Iowa State.

The Tar Heels, running a 4-2-5 scheme, gave up 39 points and 497.8 yards per game last season. That included giving up a school-record 70 points and 789 yards in a September loss at East Carolina, followed by 50 points the next week at Clemson and 50 again two games later at Notre Dame.

The Tar Heels (6-7) had already allowed more points than any team in school history before losing 40-21 to Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl. Koenning didn't coach in the bowl, with assistant Dan Disch - who also coached cornerbacks - leading the defense.

Disch has carried the title of defensive coordinator under Koenning, who ended up taking over as defensive coordinator at Troy.

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