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UNC hires former Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis

Former Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis has joined the defensive coaching staff at North Carolina, the school announced Monday.

Papuchis was on Nebraska’s staff from 2008 to 2014 and he spent the past three seasons as the Cornhuskers’ defensive coordinator. At UNC, he fills a void left by Ron West, who wasn’t retained after coaching linebackers the past two seasons.

It’s unclear what position Papuchis will coach, team spokesman Kevin Best said.

Papuchis is the second defensive assistant coach Larry Fedora has hired since a 6-7 season in which the Tar Heels fielded one of the worst defenses in school history. Fedora hired Gene Chizik, who was Auburn’s coach when the Tigers won the 2010 national championship, to be the Tar Heels’ defensive coordinator.

Chizik replaced Vic Koenning, who had been on UNC’s staff during Fedora’s three seasons. Under Chizik, the Tar Heels will change from a 4-2-5 to a more traditional 4-3 base defense.

Papuchis, 36, was the fourth-youngest defensive coordinator in the country when Nebraska promoted him to that position in 2012. He worked at Louisiana Stateunder Nick Saban in 2004-07 and was a graduate assistant at Kansas in 2001-03.

Papuchis “has quickly earned a reputation as an outstanding teacher and recruiter,” Fedora said in a statement. “John has worked at some of the top programs in the country and his vision for success for our student-athletes mirrors the goals we have at UNC.”

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