Pagano Named Defensive Coordinator

Pagano Named Defensive Coordinator

Chapel Hill, N.C. -- North Carolina head coach Butch Davis has hired Chuck Pagano as the Tar Heels' defensive coordinator. Pagano, who was a member of Davis' previous staffs in Miami and Cleveland, comes to Chapel Hill after serving two seasons as the Oakland Raiders' defensive backs coach.

This year, the Raiders led the National Football League in pass defense, allowing just 150.8 yards per game, and ranked third in total defense, giving up 284.8 yards per contest. One of Pagano's pupils, Nnamdi Asomugha, finished third in the league with eight interceptions.

"Having worked with Chuck for 12 years, I know him to have outstanding character and his coaching record speaks for itself," says Davis. "His players have enjoyed great success under his direction, both on the collegiate and professional levels. This past season, Oakland had one of the top defenses in the NFL, largely due to the play of the secondary. He also is an excellent recruiter who is familiar with North Carolina. Chuck is a tremendous addition to our staff."

"I'm excited to be reunited with Coach Davis at North Carolina," says Pagano. "We enjoyed great success together at Miami and I believe we can build a championship program in Chapel Hill. North Carolina is one of the top institutions in the country in terms of academics and athletics, and this is a wonderful opportunity for me and my family."

Pagano coached the secondary and was special teams coordinator under Davis at Miami from 1995-2000, where he recruited and coached four first-round NFL draft picks - cornerback Phillip Buchanan, cornerback Duane Starks, safety Ed Reed and cornerback Mike Rumph. During the 2000 season, his secondary was tabbed the nation's best by Football News. His defensive backs did not allow a passing touchdown over the last 27 quarters of the 1999 season. As the Hurricanes' special teams coordinator, Miami blocked 39 kicks in 59 games, including a single-season school record 12 blocks in 1996.

Pagano was Davis' secondary coach in Cleveland from 2001-04. In 2003, his unit helped the Browns tie a franchise record for the fewest passing touchdown allowed with 13. Under Pagano's tutelage in 2001, the secondary accounted for 28 of the Browns' NFL-leading 33 interceptions, which also set a new team mark. As a rookie in 2001, Cleveland cornerback Anthony Henry led the league in 10 interceptions.

A native of Boulder, Colo., Pagano was a four-year letterwinner and two-year starter at the University of Wyoming. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at USC from 1984-85 before serving in the same capacity at Miami in 1986. He was outside linebackers coach at Boise State from 1987-88, then coached defensive backs at East Carolina (1989) and UNLV (1990). In 1991, Pagano was defensive coordinator for UNLV. He returned to ECU to coach defensive backs and outside linebackers from 1992-94.

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