Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater will join the Maryland football team as its new safeties coach, the school announced Tuesday.
The Thundering Herd had one of the top defenses in the nation this past season, ranking No. 28 in total defense (341.7 yards allowed per game), No. 17 in scoring defense (19.9 points allowed per game) and tied for 10th in red-zone defense.
The season before his arrival, Marshall ranked second to last in the Football Bowl Subdivision in scoring defense. The unit’s 20.1-point improvement was the best by a major college team in over a decade.
Heater, 65, a West Virginia native, returned home to the program as defensive coordinator in 2013 after serving for two seasons in the same position at Temple. Before then, he spent six seasons at Florida, where he coached for a year with Terps coach DJ Durkin.
Heater, whom Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has said is “one of the best teachers” and someone who “has a tendency of making some players out of non-players,” should help a struggling Maryland defense. Under defensive coordinator Andy Buh and co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Brumbaugh, the Terps struggled all season, particularly against Big Ten Conference opponents, finishing the year with one of the worst defenses (419.4 yards allowed per game, 37.1 points per game) in the nation.
“Chuck’s record speaks for itself,” Durkin said in a release. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with him first hand and have seen the direct impact he’s made in developing players. Throughout his career, Chuck has played an instrumental role in leading defenses that have performed at extremely high levels.”
In his new role, Heater will work with Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, the former defensive backs coach, who will now focus on the team’s cornerbacks.
The Terps also announced that linebackers coach Matt Barnes is the team’s new special teams coordinator. Assistant head coach Pete Lembo, who oversees tight ends, helmed the team's special teams the past two seasons.