Gene Chizik is a coach with a BCS national championship ring that is still so new it has not begun to lose its shine, yet he is in position now to revive his coaching career. Chizik has been named the new defensive coordinator at North Carolina, a program that could benefit from Chizik’s return to the sideline as well as any other coaching move in the country could yield.
Chizik was first tied to the defensive coordinator job at UNC earlier this month, but the school finally made the coaching hire official today. He takes over a defense that is in major need of catching up on defense. North Carolina ranked 120th in the nation in total defense, allowing 497.8 yards per game in 2014. The Tar Heels were 119th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing opponents to average 39.0 points per game last fall.
Chizik coached Auburn to a BCS national championship in 2011, his third season on the job. The honeymoon following the national championship ended very early though as the Tigers struggled through the 2012 season. A rough season at Auburn led to the school removing Chizik as head coach, sending Chizik to the broadcast booth and leading to the hiring of a former Chizik assistant, Gus Malzahn. Now, after staying away from coaching for two seasons, the time has come for Chizik to get back to doing what he does best; coach defense.
Chizik was the brains behind Auburn’s defense from 2002 through 2004 before being named the head coach at Iowa State. Like many coaches before him, a chance to step away from the high pressure demand that comes with being a head coach and taking on a slightly less demanding position as coordinator should serve Chizik well, especially at a program that has nowhere to go defensively than up.
As for UNC head coach Larry Fedora, his job may depend on Chizik being a successful hire as well. If things do not turn around at UNC soon, the calls for a possible change at head coach could start to escalate at Chapel Hill. And now there is a BCS championship head coach on the staff that could get a promotion out of any possible change.