Urban Meyer has a major hole to fill on his defensive staff after Everett Withers accepted the James Madison head coaching position Friday.
"Everett is a proven winner and has shown his ability to lead," Dukes athletic director Jeff Bourse said in a statement, per the Associated Press. "The entire committee was incredibly impressed when we met with him."
Withers was one of Meyer's first assistant hires after he took over at Ohio State, naming the former North Carolina defensive coordinator and 2011 interim head coach the Buckeyes' co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach in December 2011. A proven commodity as both a recruiter and defensive play-caller, Withers posted a 7-6 record as the Tar Heels' coach after Butch Davis was fired in the summer of 2011.
A 26-year coaching veteran with assistant stops at Texas, Minnesota, the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans, Withers had been linked with a handful of FBS head coaching jobs since arriving in Columbus, most recently with FAU vacancy under former Ohio State administrator Pat Chun.
But instead he'll get his first head coaching job with the FCS Dukes, who saw longtime coach Mickey Matthews dismissed after posting just one FCS playoff appearance in the past five seasons.
"I'm happy for Coach Withers, and his family," Meyer said. "Everett is extremely well respected in the coaching profession and I've enjoyed having him on our staff. He is a great family man, cares about his players and is an excellent recruiter. I expect that he will be a fine head coach."