Monday, 14 January 2013 13:41

Marshall football hires Chuck Heater as defensive coordinator

Written by  MU SPORTS INFORMATION RELEASES, edited by Woody Woodrum for HI

 

HUNTINGTON — Thundering Herd football Coach Doc Holliday announced Monday he has hired Chuck Heater, Temple’s defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, as the new defensive coordinator at Marshall.
 
Heater will coach the Thundering Herd secondary, Holliday said.
 
"Chuck is one of the most respected coaches in the nation and will bring with him a proven track record of success,” Holliday said. 
 
"He has helped win three national titles and I’m tremendously excited for him to join our staff.”
 
Heater, a 37-year veteran in the college coaching ranks who was born in West Virginia, also served as the co-defensive coordinator at Florida in 2010 and assistant defensive coordinator in 2008 and 2009. 
 
“It is a great day for me personally to get reunited with Coach Holliday,” said Heater. 
 
“I consider Doc one of the truly outstanding coaches in this profession and am excited to re-connect with my West Virginia roots. 
 
“I look forward to my contribution in returning Marshall to football greatness.”
 
He helped win two national titles during his six-year stint in Gainesville (where he coached on the staff with Holliday, 2005-07) and another in 1988 while serving as the secondary coach at Notre Dame.
 
“He's one of the best teachers. I used to just sit in his meetings and watch him coach,” said Urban Meyer, who hired Heater at Florida and is now the head coach at Ohio State. 
 
“Coach Heater has a tendency of making some players out of non-players.”
 
In 2012, Heater’s unit produced the Big East Conference's Rookie of the Year in Owls linebacker Tyler Matakevich, who became the first freshman in school history to record at least 100 tackles (101). 
 
The Owls also ranked third in the league in sacks with 2.27 per contest.
 
Led by three-time first team All-Mid-American Conference defensive end Adrian Robinson as well as All-MAC honorees defensive end Morkeith Brown, safety Kevin Kroboth and linebacker Tahir Whitehead, the Owls’ defense dominated the MAC in 2011.
 
Temple led all MAC teams in five categories while ranking No. 3 nationally in scoring defense behind national champion Alabama and LSU. 
 
The Owls recorded two shutouts.
 
Chuck Heater (center, with card), shown last season with the Temple Owls, will bring his extensive and impressive resume in coaching to Marshall as Coach Doc Holliday's new defensive coordinator, and will coach the secondary. (photo courtesy of Temple Athletics)
 
Linebacker Tahir Whitehead was drafted in the fifth round by Detroit Lions in 2012, one of a school record three draftees and a school-record class of 11 NFL signees. 
 
From the defense, Brown (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), linebacker Stephen Johnson (New Orleans Saints) and defensive end Adrian Robinson (Pittsburgh Steelers) signed rookie free agent contracts.
 
Heater’s coaching stops have come at (alphabetically) Colorado, Colorado State, Florida, Northern Arizona, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Temple, Toledo, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. 
 
The defensive coordinator at Florida in 2010, he has coached in 25 bowl games, including eight on New Year’s Day, and the 2007 and 2009 BCS National Championship Games, where Florida captured two national titles, and the 1988 national championship with Notre Dame. 
 
He has twice been nominated for the Frank Broyles Award (2006 and 2011) as the nation’s top assistant coach.
 
“Chuck Heater is a proven winner at every stop he’s been,” said Boston College head coach Steve Addazio. 
 
“He’s been a part of three national championships as a position coach and as a coordinator. He’s one of the most respected football coaches in the country. 
 
“He brings a tremendous amount of energy and passion and has a unique ability to get his players to play really hard. As great a football coach as he is, he’s even a better person. 
 
“He’s a true family man who will treat every player like he is his son.
 
Chuck Heater is one of the most experienced coaches to ever coach at Marshall University, and has coached 20 NFL Draftees and 24 players who have played in the NFL. (photo courtesy of Temple Athletics)
 
Heater, age 60, has been associated with six National Coaches of the Year in his playing and coaching career (Barry Alvarez, Earle Bruce, Lou Holtz, Meyer, Bill McCartney and Bo Schembechler) while mentoring 20 NFL Draft selections and 24 NFL players as well as numerous all-conference picks, including Jim Thorpe Award winner Chris Hudson (Colorado).
 
Under his guidance, the Gators recorded 116 interceptions, the most in the SEC and the second-best total in the nation during that time frame. 
 
In 2010, Heater led the Gator secondary to a No. 3 ranking in SEC pass defense and SEC pass defense efficiency, while ranking second in the conference with 17 interceptions. 
 
Safety Ahmad Black was named a second team All-American in 2010.
 
In 2009, Heater helped guide a Florida secondary that ranked first in the SEC, the first time since 1988, and second in the nation in pass defense, allowing just 152.8 yards per game. 
 
Four opponents failed to crack the 100-yard mark in passing offense against the Gators and six completed fewer than 50 percent of their pass attempts. 
 
Heater helped turn around a defensive secondary that was one of the nation’s worst in 2007 to rank among the best in 2008.
 
The UF pass efficiency defense ranked third in the nation in 2008 (up from 71st in 2007) and the pass defense improved to rank 20th in the nation in 2008 (up from 98th in 2007). 
 
Sophomore Ahmad Black was named second-team All-SEC by the coaches and honorable mention All-American honors from Sports Illustrated.
 
Black was a second-team All-Sophomore selection by College Football News, while sophomore Major Wright earned honorable mention recognition for the All-Sophomore team. 
 
Will Hill was selected to the SEC All-Freshman team and was named a second-team All-Freshman performer by College Football News. 
 
Black tied for the national lead with seven interceptions in 2008, totaling 191 interception return yards, the second-most in the country, and two touchdowns.
 
Heater served as the recruiting coordinator for the 2006 and 2007 Florida classes that each ranked among the top two nationally, including No. 1 by several services. The 2008 class was ranked in the top five by several services.
 
The Gator secondary led the SEC in interceptions in 2005 and 2006 with 16 in 2005 (tied with Georgia) and 21 in 2006. UF’s 2006 total tied for the fourth-highest in school history. 
 
Florida’s 2006 pass defense efficiency (98.3) ranked fourth nationally and second in the SEC. 
 
UF surrendered only 10 passing touchdowns in 2006 (tied for eighth nationally). The unit also ranked second in scoring defense in the league and sixth nationally (13.5).
 
Heater guided All-SEC first-team selection Ryan Smith, whose total of eight interceptions led the league and was seventh nationally in 2006. 
 
The total was also the second-highest by a Gator in school history. He tutored the 2005 cornerbacks at Florida that were part of a secondary that allowed just 52.3 percent of passes to be complete — the 16th-best percentage nationally. 
 
A member of the UF secondary had a sack in five of the 12 games on the year. 
 
He coached All-SEC performer Dee Webb in 2005 (First Team by AP and Second Team by coaches), who led the SEC in pass deflections and team MVP Vernell Brown who ranked second in the SEC in interceptions.
 
Heater worked alongside current OSU head coach Meyer at four different Division I programs. 
 
In 1986, Heater coached the secondary at Ohio State when Meyer was a graduate assistant. They coached together again at Colorado State from 1991-92, where Heater was the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach and Meyer as the receivers coach. 
 
Heater was also a member of the Utah coaching staff in 2004.
 
During the 2004 campaign, Heater served as the cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at Utah as the Utes completed a perfect 12-0 season.
 
He spent five years at Washington as either the cornerbacks or running backs coach from 1999-2003 and also served as the Huskies’ recruiting coordinator. 
 
Heater was credited with helping the school sign three recruiting classes rated in the Top 15. 
 
Three of his recruiting classes produced a Freshman All-American.  In 2002, he switched from the corners to the running backs. 
 
He also oversaw the Huskies’ punt and kick return teams.       
 
During his first season at Notre Dame, Heater was a member of the coaching staff that led the Irish to a 12-0 record and the 1988 national championship, beating West Virginia in the Sunkist Fiesta Bowl, 34-21.
 
He has served as the secondary coach at Notre Dame (1988-90), Ohio State (1985-87) and Wisconsin (1982-84). 
 
Heater coached the running backs from 1977-78 and the secondary at Toledo from 1979-81, losing three straight to the Herd in that era, 1977-78-79, giving Marshall three of four wins over those seasons. 
 
He began his collegiate coaching career in 1976 at Northern Arizona, coaching running backs.
 
Born in Weston, W.Va., and raised in Tiffin, Ohio, Heater played for Columbian High School in Tiffin.
 
Heater rushed for more than 1,000 yards and scored more than 100 points as a junior in 1969 and senior in 1970, and accounted for 3,530 yards and 310 points in his career.
 
He earned All-Ohio honors as a senior, and was Co-Back of the Year on the Associated Press’ All-District Team.
 
Chuck Heater (#44) turns up field in the Maize and Blue of Michigan, behind the blocking of Ed Shuttlesworth in the early 1970s. Heater finished his career fifth in rushing for the Wolverines (photo courtesy of Michigan Athletics)
 
A three-year letter winner at running back at Michigan (freshmen not eligible at the time), Heater earned second-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior and was named honorable mention as a senior. 
 
 
At Michigan, he left as the fifth-leading rusher all-time with 1,995 yards on 407 carries (a 4.9-yard per carry average) with 17 touchdowns.
 
He rushed for 669 yards and four scores as a sophomore, 666 yards (5.8 yards per carry that season) and six touchdowns as a junior and 660 yards as a senior with seven scores, with his best game of 155 yards at Illinois in 1972.
 
Heater also topped 100 yards at Iowa (133) and against Indiana (128) in 1973 and at Wisconsin (101) in 1974.
 
He also caught five passes for 66 yards (13.2 yards per catch), returned six kickoffs for a 24.3 yard per return average and had four tackles.
 
Heater received the school’s Fielding Yost (another native West Virginian) Award in 1975 for the most outstanding academic and athletic performance by a senior.
 
He had four 100-yard rushing games for the Wolverines from 1972-74.
 
During his tenure at Michigan, the Wolverines went 41-3-1 and won outright or shared the Big Ten title every season.
 
Heater received his bachelor’s degree in education from Michigan in 1975, after playing in the Blue-Gray Football Classic in the post-season of his senior year.
 
Heater was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the 10th round with the 241st overall selection in the 1975 NFL Draft.
 
Heater is married to the former Deborah Dariano, actually landing in Bo Schembechler’s doghouse for missing a day of Michigan practice for his honeymoon in 1972. 
 
The couple has three children: Emily, Andy, and Adam, and a granddaughter, Grace. 
 
Emily is married to former Herd assistant coach Sean Cronin. 
 
Andy was a defensive tackle at Washington in 2005 and is now an Airborne Army Ranger, while Adam played tight end at UCLA.
 
 
Marshall University Sports Information release, addtional material by Woody Woodrum at Herd Insider.
Last modified on Monday, 14 January 2013 13:47

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