Gene Chizik is in his second season as UNC’s defensive coordinator after joining the coaching staff in 2015. Chizik, who won national championships at Auburn and Texas and has long been considered one of the brightest defensive coaches in college football, had an immediate impact on the UNC program.
Chizik engineered one of the best turnarounds in college football as Carolina was the nation’s most improved Power 5 defense, averaging 14.5 points fewer than the previous year. UNC also had the most improved pass defense in the country in 2015 in both efficiency and yards per pass attempt, and was the fifth-most improved team in passing yards per game. Carolina led the ACC in interceptions, turnovers gained, turnover margin and passes defended en route to a record-setting 11-3 season, a berth in the ACC Championship Game and a No. 15 final ranking in both national polls.
Prior to his work in Chapel Hill, Chizik 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 finished first in scoring defense and fifth in total defense. Auburn went 13-0, won the Southeastern Conference and defeated Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.
After leaving Auburn in 2012, Chizik served as an analyst for ESPN, working primarily with the SEC Network. He also worked as a college football analyst with Sirius/XM radio.
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.
Chizik has also been heavily involved in college football reforms. In August of 2014, 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.
Chizik achieved unparalleled success at Auburn in his first three years as head coach. He won more games (30) than any other coach in the school’s rich football history in his first three seasons, including the school’s first national championship in more than 50 years.
Chizik’s second season at Auburn was one for the ages as the program won BCS and SEC Championships, while he earned Home Depot and Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year honors, as well as AP SEC Coach of the Year accolades. The 2010 Auburn squad went a perfect 14-0, recording the program’s first title since 1957, and its first conference crown since 2004.
Players under Chizik’s tutelage have earned several national awards, including the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Lombardi Award and Thorpe Award. In fact, he is the only coach in college football history to coach three consecutive Thorpe Award (nation’s top defensive back) winners from 2004-06.
Before being named Auburn’s head coach, Chizik served two seasons as head coach at Iowa State (2007-08) and two as Texas’ defensive coordinator (2005-06).
Chizik was the defensive coordinator at Texas under Brown when the Longhorns captured the 2005 national championship. The Longhorns ranked eighth nationally in scoring defense, 10th in total defense and fourth in pass efficiency defense.
Prior to his arrival at Auburn in 2004, Chizik was the defensive coordinator for four seasons (1998-01) at Central Florida, where he improved a unit that was 81st nationally in total defense before his arrival to one that was 16th in the country in 2001.
Chizik spent six seasons at Stephen F. Austin from 1992-97, overseeing the linebackers (1992-94) and secondary (1995-97). He began his coaching career as defensive coordinator (1986-88) at Seminole High School in St. Petersburg, Fla., before becoming a graduate assistant at Clemson for a pair of 10-win teams in 1988-89. Chizik then became the outside linebackers coach at Middle Tennessee State from 1990-91, where the Blue Raiders made consecutive I-AA playoff appearances and won 21 games in his two-year stint.
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.
Gene Chizik Coaching Year-By-Year
Year School Position
2015-present: North Carolina Defensive Coordinator
2009-2012: Auburn Head Coach
2007-08: Iowa State Head Coach
2005-06: Texas Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
2002-04: Auburn Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
1998-2001: Central Florida Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
1992-97: Stephen F. Austin Linebackers Coach/Secondary Coach/Defensive Coord.
1990-91: MTSU Defensive Ends Coach
1988-89: Clemson Graduate Assistant Coach/Linebackers