Former Auburn coach Gene Chizik stepping down as North Carolina DC

Gene Chizik's two-year run as defensive coordinator at North Carolina is coming to an end. The former Auburn coach announced Thursday he is stepping down to spend more time with his family.

Chizik led the Tar Heels defense for two seasons, helping that side of the ball turn it around during the 2015 ACC Coastal Division title run. North Carolina went 19-8 in the past two years as its defense improved in yards per play allowed both seasons.

"Personally, it has been extremely difficult for my family and me. We have been apart for the past two years for the first time in my 30-year coaching career," Chizik said in a statement letter to UNC fans. "I have been a long-distance husband to my devoted wife, Jonna. I missed my twin daughters' entire senior year of high school, along with sending them off to college. My son, Cally, is a high school football and baseball player. I have only seen two of Cally's baseball games and two of his football games in two years. As every parent can imagine, being a long-distance dad to my children has been extremely difficult on everyone.

"At every step in my coaching career, I have emphasized to my players and coaches that family must come first, that family comes before football. Simply put, it is time for me to walk the walk."

This news comes as North Carolina's defensive staff is in flux and reports indicated that Chizik, 55, was considering a change in career path. In between his time at Auburn, where he won a national championship with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton, and UNC, Chizik was an ESPN analyst.

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories