The UNC football team was already losing quite a bit of talent entering next season, but the Tar Heels were dealt yet another blow on Thursday.
After two years as UNC’s defensive coordinator, Gene Chizik will be stepping down from his duties in order to spend more time with his family.
He becomes the third defensive staff member–after defensive line coach Tray Scott and defensive backs coach Charlton Warren–to leave the Tar Heels this offseason.
Linebackers coach John Papuchis–who came to Chapel Hill prior to the 2015 season with Chizik, Scott and Warren–will be promoted to the defensive coordinator position.
Chizik wrote a letter explaining his decision, which was released by the university.
“The past two years at the University of North Carolina and the opportunity to work with Coach Fedora have been a blessing, and I’m extremely proud of the success we enjoyed,” Chizik said. “I have always told my players family should come before football, and it’s time for me to follow my own advice.
“I look forward to watching my own son play the game I’ve dedicated my life and career to for the next two years, and I look forward to the simple joys of being a father and husband I’ve missed out on.”
Under Chizik’s leadership, the Tar Heels boasted one of the nation’s most improved defenses on the way to an 11-3 record and UNC’s first ever ACC Coastal Division title.
The Tar Heels won 19 games during his two seasons on staff, the most the program has compiled in back-to-back years since winning 21 from 1996-97.
“I want to thank Coach Fedora, Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham, the administration, our players who have given so much, the loyal Tar Heel fans and donors who’ve made this an experience I’ll never forget,” said Chizik. “I will forever be a Tar Heel.”