CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - University of North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora announced Monday that Gene Chizik has been hired as the Tar Heels’ defensive coordinator. Chizik, who won national championships at Auburn and Texas, has long been considered one of the brightest defensive coaches in college football and is an experienced leader who will work with Fedora to achieve excellence on and off the field.
Chizik, 53, served as head coach at Auburn from 2009-12 and led the Tigers to three bowl victories, including the 2011 BCS title game, which followed an undefeated 2010 season. Previously, he was the defensive coordinator at Texas under Mack Brown when the Longhorns captured the 2005 national championship.
Chizik also was Auburn’s defensive coordinator from 2002-04 where he built one of the nation’s most dominating defenses. In 2004, he earned the Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in the country when Auburn went 13-0, won the Southeastern Conference and finished No. 2 in both national polls.
Since leaving Auburn in 2012, Chizik has served as an analyst for ESPN, working most recently with the SEC Network. He also worked as a college football analyst with Sirius/XM radio.
“Throughout the hiring process, I worked closely with athletic director Bubba Cunningham to invest in someone who believes in the mission of the University and shares our vision of providing an outstanding experience to the student-athletes,” said Fedora. “Gene Chizik believes in competing at the highest level both on and off the field and is another highly regarded leader for our program.”
“I’m thrilled to join Coach Fedora’s staff and I appreciate the trust he and athletic director Bubba Cunningham have in me,” said Chizik. “It is a tremendous opportunity to coach at one of the most prestigious Universities in the country and live in Chapel Hill. I’m committed to the student-athlete experience they expect at Carolina, and look forward to developing our players into the best they can be in all areas of their lives.”
As head coach at Auburn, Chizik had an Academic Progress Rate (APR) of 970 or above in three of his four seasons, including a 985 in his third year and a 978 in his final season. APR is a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete, each term. The highest score attainable is 1000.
“Academic success is one of the highest priorities for our team and we are committed to bringing in coaches and staff who value and protect our academic integrity,” said Fedora.
Chizik has also been heavily involved in college football reforms. Just this past August, the NCAA invited him to serve on a 12-person committee tasked with examining the recruiting culture in college football and evaluating the current national letter of intent signing dates. The committee was organized in conjunction with the NCAA and reported to the Collegiate Commissioners Association.
Throughout his career, Chizik’s players have earned several national awards, including the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Lombardi Award and Thorpe Award.
Chizik was head coach at Iowa State from 2007-08. He also coached previously at Clemson, Middle Tennessee State and Central Florida.
Chizik earned his B.A. degree in education from Florida in 1985 and his M.A. in guidance and counseling from Clemson in 1991.
A Clearwater, Fla., native, Chizik and his wife, Jonna, have identical twin daughters, Landry Grace and Kennedy Danielle, and a son, Cally.