Haus, a 1983 graduate of North Carolina who was a two-time All-America defenseman and a member of the 1981 and '82 national championship teams in Chapel Hill, had been rumored to be the front-running candidate to replace Dave Klarmann, who stepped down at Carolina after 10 seasons.
The Tar Heels initially contacted Haus last fall about his interest in the job.
Haus, who took over at Hopkins in 1998, said he did not speak to the Tar Heels again until after the Blue Jays were eliminated by Syracuse in last week's national semifinals, 14-12.
Terms of Haus' multi-year contract were not disclosed.
"This is a great opportunity for me, my wife and my children," said Haus, who produced a 20-7 record in two seasons with the Blue Jays. He also has two brothers who played at North Carolina.
"It was a chance to go back to the program where I played and where I've got a lot of ties. [Carolina] presented a very nice opportunity for me, a very good package for me and my family. The decision comes from the heart a little bit."
Haus had told his players, staff and Hopkins administrators during the season that he had no intentions of voluntarily leaving the Homewood campus.
"Haus told us that this was his home and the only way he was leaving was if they kicked him out," Blue Jays goalkeeper Brian Carcaterra said.
Former Hopkins great Dave Pietramala, a standout defenseman in the 1980s and the current coach at Cornell, is believed to be the prime candidate to replace Haus. This year, Pietramala guided the Big Red to a second-place finish in the Ivy League and its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1995.
Pietramala could not be reached for comment.
"What's important to me is how great the people were to me at Hopkins. They gave me fabulous opportunities as an assistant coach and a head coach," said Haus, who was an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Hopkins from 1988 to '94, before landing his first head coaching job at Division III Washington College.
The Shoremen won a national title in 1998. Haus then replaced Tony Seaman at Hopkins, which has not won a national championship since 1987.
"I felt when we hired John Haus that North Carolina was the only job he would leave Hopkins for," Hopkins athletic director Tom Calder said. "He did an outstanding job as our coach, and we wish him well at his alma mater."
Haus takes over a Tar Heels program that had faded since winning its last national championship in 1991. Under Klarmann, Carolina suffered through back-to-back losing seasons before failing to make the NCAAs with an 8-6 record this spring.
Dirrigl recently completed his third year as Loyola's associate head coach and ninth overall as an assistant with the Greyhounds.
Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan and Virginia assistant Chris Colbeck also are believed to be among the leading candidates for the Rutgers job.