Following the exits of defensive coordinator Jay Bateman and special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach Jovan Dewitt the day before, the North Carolina football team has found its next assistant head coach for defense — former UNC DC Gene Chizik, the team confirmed Saturday. The team also announced the hiring of Charlton Warren as the new co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach.
Chizik previously worked for head coach Mack Brown as a defensive coordinator for the Texas Longhorns from 2005 to 2006, where they won a national championship together. He later won a second national title in 2010 as the head coach of the Auburn Tigers, alongside Heisman quarterback and Carolina Panther legend Cam Newton.
Most recently, Chizik worked as a defensive coordinator at North Carolina under head coach Larry Fedora from 2015 to 2017. After winning an ACC Coastal Division title with the team in his first season, his second saw the team go 8-5 and lose 25-23 to Stanford in the Sun Bowl, after which he resigned.
Chizik was recently rumored to be taking the head coaching job of the Birmingham Stallions of the United States Football League, but quashed those rumors in a tweet Thursday.
"I want to thank Coach Brown and the administration for welcoming my family and I back to Chapel Hill," Chizik said in a press release. "Having coached here previously, I know this is a special place and I'm excited to help the program take the next step towards competing for and winning championships."
Warren comes to the team after a stint as the defensive coordinator at Indiana University. He worked alongside Chizik during his two previous seasons at UNC, and had coaching stints at Tennessee, Florida and Georgia before going to Bloomington. Warren's coaching career stretches back 17 years, when he began as a graduate assistant coach at Air Force.
"My family and I couldn't be more excited to be returning to Chapel Hill," Warren said. "I obviously followed the Tar Heels since leaving, and you can see that the program is on the cusp of something special."
With this pair of hires, Brown will be looking to improve upon the defense Bateman oversaw in his last season, which finished 105th nationally in points allowed per game and 94th in yards allowed per game.
"We can't wait for both Gene and Charlton to get to Chapel Hill and get started," Brown said.
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