Dan Disch (pronounced DISH) enters his first season at North Carolina where he will serve as the defensive coordinator and coach the secondary. Disch served in the same role under head coach Larry Fedora last year at Southern Miss where he installed his brand of the 4-2-5 defensive scheme.
In 2011, the Golden Eagles improved from 75th nationally in pass efficiency defense to seventh, and were ranked 22nd in rushing defense, allowing just 112.6 rushing yards per game. Disch's defense set an NCAA record with 11 interceptions returned for touchdowns.
Overall, USM ranked 29th in total defense and 28th in scoring defense as the Golden Eagles won the 2011 Conference USA championship over previously unbeaten Houston and then won their school-record 12th game over Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl. In the final regular season top 25 polls, Southern Miss was No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches poll and No. 22 in the Associated Press poll.
Before arriving in Hattiesburg, Disch spent six seasons at Illinois, where he served as the special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach (2005), special teams coordinator/linebackers coach (2006), co-defensive coordinator/linebackers (2007-09) and linebackers coach (2010). He served under Ron Zook for seven seasons, including one year at Florida (2004) where he coached the secondary. Fedora also was a member of the Gator staff in 2004.
At Carolina, Disch will be reunited on the defensive staff with Vic Koenning. The two worked together for one season at Illinois in 2010.
Disch's linebackers were a strong point of the Illini defense in 2010, as Martez Wilson collected 112 tackles, tied for fourth in the Big Ten. Wilson also ranked among Big Ten leaders in tackles for loss. In 2009, one of Disch's linebackers again led the team in tackles and ranked among the Big Ten leaders as Ian Thomas racked up 95 stops.
In 2008, for the third-straight season, Illinois' middle linebacker led the Big Ten in tackles and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection. After J Leman in 2006 and 2007, Brit Miller averaged 11.0 tackles per game. The Illini also led the Big Ten in tackles for loss and sacks, in which Miller was also the team leader.
Disch's 2007 Fighting Illini defense was one of the best in the Big Ten, led by consensus All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection Leman. The heart of the Illini defense, Leman finished sixth on the Illinois career tackles list and ranked fifth in all-time tackles for loss. Illinois finished 20th in the AP top 25 poll and played Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl, the school's first appearance in the Rose Bowl since 1984.
In 2006, Disch's linebacking corps helped the Illini make a large improvement in total and rushing defense. The team bettered its numbers from the 2005 season by over 160 total yards. Leman earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as well as honorable mention Sports Illustrated All-America honors. He led the Big Ten with 12.7 tackles per game and ranked 10th in the nation in TFL per game.
As the special teams coach for the Illini in 2005, Disch tutored All-Big Ten and All-America punter Steve Weatherford who, with a 42.6 average, became the school's all-time leader in punting average. Just one year later, more special teams records were broken under Disch's watch as running back Pierre Thomas set a new mark for kickoff return yards in a career. He averaged 31.9 yards per return in 2006 and ranks third on the school's all-time return average list with a 25.3 mark.
In 2004 at Florida, Disch rebuilt a secondary that lost all four starters from the previous year, yet his new group still recorded 16 interceptions. The production came from a group that entered the season with just four career picks. Safety Jarvis Herring ranked third in the SEC in interceptions per game, while corner Dee Webb was fourth in passes defended.
Prior to entering the collegiate ranks, Disch spent 22 years coaching high school football in the Jacksonville, Fla., area, including 16 seasons as the head coach of Ed White High School, where he posted a record of 122-55 to become the school's all-time winningest coach. While under Disch's lead, Ed White made 11 playoff appearances, won seven district and six conference championships, and reached the state quarterfinals four times. Ed White also was ranked in the Top-10 of the state's final football poll eight times. Additionally, five of Disch's high school assistant coaches went on to land head coaching jobs.
Disch is a 1981 graduate of Florida State University. He was born in Jacksonville, Fla., and is married to the former Janet Johnson. The couple has three daughters: Chandler, Erica and Virginia.