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North Carolina has hired former Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins as its next defensive coordinator. Collins has not coached since his mid-season firing from Georgia Tech in 2022 but replaces Gene Chizik, who will not return in 2024 after two seasons.

"We couldn't be more excited to welcome Geoff Collins, his wife Jennifer, and their daughter Astrid to the Carolina football family," said coach Mack Brown in a statement. "Geoff is brilliant defensive mind, who has been successful at a number of different locations as both a head coach and a coordinator. His experience shows that he knows what it takes to lead the men in our program, and he'll utilize that experience for the benefit of our defense. We were blown away when we interviewed Geoff. He was unbelievably prepared. He had watched all of our games, knew our personnel, and pinpointed the items he'd implement to improve our players and the defensive unit as a whole. I can't wait to get Geoff and his family to Chapel Hill and get to work."

Collins is tasked with turning around a Tar Heels defense that ranked just inside the top 100 nationally with more than 400 yards per game allowed. Struggles on that side of the ball led to UNC losing five of its last six games -- punctuated by the Duke's Mayo Bowl vs. West Virginia -- after beginning the season 6-0. 

While Collins was an underwhelming 10-28 with the Yellow Jackets, the 52-year-old has enjoyed previous success as a Power Five defensive coordinator, specifically in the SEC. Collins was at Mississippi State from 2011-14 (he started as co-defensive coordinator before taking sole possession of that title in 2013) and Florida from 2015-16 as the DC. The Gators produced top-15 scoring defenses in each of their two years with Collins on staff, including a 2016 unit that finished sixth nationally at just 16.8 points surrendered on average.  

Success in those two roles led to Collins accepting the Temple job in 2016; he compiled a 15-10 mark in two seasons with the Owls before leaving for Georgia Tech. In total, Collins has three decades' worth of coaching experience after starting as an assistant at his alma mater, Western Carolina, in 1993. 

UNC is entering its sixth season of its second stint under Brown, who turns 73 in August. Brown, one of just four active college coaches with an FBS national championship under his belt (Texas, 2005), shot down rumors of retirement in November as he now prepares for what will be his 36th season overall as an FBS coach.