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Heater to light fire in Herd defense

MU football
Jan. 15, 2013 @ 12:07 AM

HUNTINGTON — Marshall University’s defense took a lot of heat during a 2012 season when it was ranked near the bottom of the FBS in several categories, which contributed to a 5-7 record.

For 2013, Marshall coach Doc Holliday is bringing in a Heater of his own.

On Monday, Holliday officially announced the hiring of former Temple University defensive coordinator Chuck Heater as the Thundering Herd’s defensive coordinator.

“Chuck is one of the most respected coaches in the nation and will bring with him a proven track record of success,” Holliday said. “He has helped win three national titles and I’m tremendously excited for him to join our staff.”

Heater adds another successful Mountain State coaching product to the Herd’s staff. He is a native of Weirton, W.Va.

Holliday and Heater forged a relationship in coaching while working on the staff at the University of Florida together. Heater said he’s excited to be reunited with his good friend of many years.

“It is a great day for me personally to get reunited with coach Holliday,” Heater said. “I consider Doc one of the truly outstanding coaches in this profession and am excited to reunite with my West Virginia roots. I look forward to my contribution in returning Marshall to football greatness.”

In addition to being the defensive coordinator, he will also coach the secondary.

Both Heater and Holliday were part of Urban Meyer’s initial staff with the Florida Gators, and both were part of the 2006 National Championship team at Florida.

After Holliday left the Gators in 2007, Heater stayed on as assistant defensive coordinator and helped lead the Gators to another national title in 2008.

Heater and Holliday also were part of a National Championship game together in 1988 with Heater being the defensive backs coach for Lou Holtz in Notre Dame’s 34-21 win over West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl. Holliday was the assistant head coach, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for the Mountaineers.

He is a 37-year veteran in the college coaching ranks having served in different capacities at 10 NCAA Division I schools.

His ability to mold players through his instruction both on the field and in meeting rooms is his most valuable asset, according to Meyer, who is now head coach at Ohio State.

“I used to just sit in his meetings and watch him coach,” Meyer said. “Coach Heater has a tendency of making some players out of non-players.”

There has been one common denominator among every place that Heater has coached — they’ve been winners.

In addition to the national titles at Florida and Notre Dame, he was at Utah when the Utes went 12-0 in 2004.

As a player at Michigan, his teams went a combined 41-3-1 and won at least a share of the Big Ten title in every season.

Heater has twice been nominated for the Frank Broyles Award, given to the nation’s outstanding assistant coach — once in 2006 at Florida and once in 2011 at Temple where he headed a defense that was the nation’s best in five different categories while finishing No. 3 in scoring defense behind national champion Alabama and LSU, both of whom met in the national championship game.

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