CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Family is important to newly hired North Carolina defensive coordinator Gene Chizik. Chizik stepped away from coaching five years ago to devote more time to his family, not knowing at the time whether or not he’d return to the sidelines.
One thing Chizik didn’t want to do was jump at the first offer after he decided to get back into coaching.
“I’m in a position in my life right now where I can wait and take the perfect one that fits what I want,” Chizik explained. “This was the perfect one. This was a no-brainer.”
It was a no-brainer for Mack Brown, as well. The two worked together at the University of Texas when the Longhorns won a national championship. Brown wasn’t sure Chizik wanted to get back into coaching when he approached him.
“I honestly said to Gene, ‘Gene, I’m going to make a change. Jay (Bateman) and I mutually agreed to split. Would like this job?'” Brown recalled of his conversation with Chizik. “He said ‘Yes’. He didn’t ask me anything about the job. He didn’t ask me what he was going to coach, he didn’t ask me about the salary, he just said ‘Yes.'”
And with that, Chizik returns to a place where he had success in the past when he served as the Tar Heels defensive coordinator for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The 2015 team played in the ACC Championship game.
Chizik said he has fond memories of his time in Chapel Hill. Getting the chance to once again coach with Brown was too hard to pass up.
“We go back a long ways and I really truly consider him one of my great mentors,” Chizik said.
Chizik also addressed the possibility of him becoming North Carolina’s coach-in-waiting.
“We’ve had zero discussion on that,” Chizik said. “I’ve got just one mindset and this mindset is I want to come back to the University of North Carolina and enjoy myself. I want to have a blast. I want to put a great defense on the field for the University of North Carolina and Mack Brown, and that’s all I care about.”