Ohio State Names Everett Withers Co-Defensive Coordinator, Keeps Vrabel On Staff


UPDATED: Wednesday December 21, 2011 3:47 PM

Everett Withers was named Ohio State's co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the 2012 season, coach Urban Meyer announced Wednesday.

Meyer also said that he will retain Mike Vrabel as the linebackers' coach.

Withers is currently the interim head coach at the University of North Carolina.  He will share defensive coordinator duties with Luke Fickell, who coached the Buckeyes in the 2011 season and will coach them in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 2.

"Everett is extremely well respected across the country," Meyer said. "I've known about him for a number of years and followed his progress as a college and NFL assistant coach. He will be a great fit for this staff, and I think he and Luke are going to work well together as the co-coordinators of our defense."

Withers has been a collegiate coach for 17 years and has also worked seven seasons in the National Football League: six years (2001-06) as defensive backs coach with the Tennessee Titans under Jeff Fisher, and a year (1994) as a defensive quality control coach for the New Orleans Saints.

Finishing up his fourth year at North Carolina, Withers was promoted to interim head coach at the school this past July and led the Tar Heels to a 7-5 record and to a berth in the Dec. 26 Independence Bowl against Missouri. He will coach the Tar Heels in the bowl game.

"I am excited, and I couldn't be more excited to be on coach Urban Meyer's staff at The Ohio State University," Withers said. "Ohio State is obviously one of the storied programs in college athletics. Having an opportunity to work at that university, and as part of Coach Meyer's staff, is something that you just can't pass up."

Withers' collegiate coaching resume includes nine years as a defensive coordinator with a vast majority of his time - 15 seasons - spent coaching the defensive backfield. His Tar Heel defenses were top notch.

The announcements of Withers and Vrabel increase the number of assistants on Meyer's staff to six, and the number of defensive assistants to four.

Fickell, who will call plays as co-defensive coordinator, and Taver Johnson are additional defensive assistants. Stan Drayton will move from wide receivers coach to running backs coach. And Tom Herman, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Iowa State University the past three years, has accepted the same position with Ohio State.

"I had heard such great things about Mike Vrabel as a player, but the key thing for me was I wanted to talk football with him," Meyer said. "I wanted to see him recruit, and I wanted to meet his family. I have since spent a lot of time with him, and he has a wonderful family.
 
"I also spoke to a number of people I know well, who also know Mike very well, including Bill Belichick. Coach Belichick and I had a really good discussion about Mike. While Mike is young, we both agreed that the unique experiences he has had as a player, coupled with the things he has already accomplished as a coach and recruiter for Ohio State, has prepared Mike for this opportunity. I am very pleased he will be on the staff."

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