Gaithersburg native John Papuchis has been promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator at the University of North Carolina.
Papuchis, a Quince Orchard High School graduate, is replacing Gene Chizik who stepped down after two seasons in Chapel Hill to spend more time with his family.
“After a lot of prayer and discussions with my wife and children, I have made the difficult decision to step away from coaching to be with my family,” said Chizik. “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. I have always told my players family should come before football, and it’s time for me to follow my own advice.”
Papuchis joined the North Carolina coaching staff in 2015 after spending seven seasons as an assistant at Nebraska including three years as the Cornhuskers’ defensive coordinator.
Papuchis was the fourth-youngest defensive coordinator in the country and the youngest solo defensive coordinator when he was promoted to the position at Nebraska in 2012. Prior to joining Bo Pelini’s Nebraska coaching staff in 2008, Papuchis worked at LSU under Nick Saban from 2004-07 and was a graduate assistant at Kansas from 2001-03.
“John is a natural fit to take over our defense given his role the last two years and his previous experience as a coordinator,” said North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora. “He knows our players and staff and will seamlessly transition into an expanded role.”