Withers Named Co-Def. Coord./Asst. Head Coach
By OSU Release
Defense taking shape; Withers, Fickell, Johnson and Vrabel all on board
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has added another member to his coaching staff today with his announcement that 24-year coaching veteran Everett Withers would be the Buckeyes’ co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Withers is currently the interim head coach at the University of North Carolina.
“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 [Fickell] 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.
- His first unit – 2008 – ranked eighth in the country with 20 interceptions, a number that was just one off the UNC single season record.
- His 2009 defense was among the nation’s elite, ranking sixth in total defense, 10th against the run, 13th in scoring and 14th in pass defense.
- His 2010 unit ranked fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 30th nationally. Five players off that unit were taken in the NFL draft, including first-round pick Robert Quinn.
- And this past year the Tar Heels ranked 14th against the run.
Additionally, Withers’ UNC defenses have picked off 71 passes in the past four years.
Withers spent one year as defensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota prior to his North Carolina position. He also has been an assistant coach at the University of Texas (1998-2000; defensive backs), Louisville (1995-97; defensive coordinator/assistant head coach/defensive backs), Southern Mississippi (1992-93; defensive backs/assistant special teams), Tulane (1991; outside linebackers) and Austin Peay (1988-90; defensive coordinator/defensive backs; tight ends/special teams).
A native of Charlotte, N.C., Withers attended Appalachian State University and was a four-year letter-winner as a defensive back. He served as team captain in 1984.
Withers and his wife, Kara, have a daughter, Tia, and a son, Pierce.
Mike Vrabel on Meyer’s Staff
Head coach Urban Meyer also announced today that Mike Vrabel, who coached the team’s linebackers this season after a decorated, 14-year career in the National Football League, has accepted an assistant coaching position with Meyer and will remain at his alma mater.
“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.”
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. Luke 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.