UNC DC Gene Chizik resigns to spend more time with family

North Carolina defensive coordinator Gene Chizik is stepping down from his post to spend more time with his family.

Chizik announced the decision Thursday afternoon, writing in a letter that it has been "extremely difficult" to live apart from his family for the first time in his coaching career. Chizik's wife and children remained in Alabama when he left for the North Carolina job in 2015.

Chizik previously had served as Auburn's head coach from 2009 to 2012, guiding the Tigers to a national title in 2010.

Tar Heels linebackers coach John Papuchis will replace Chizik as defensive coordinator, the school announced in a release. Papuchis served as Nebraska's defensive coordinator from 2012 to 2014 before joining the UNC staff.

"At every stop in my coaching career, I have emphasized to my players that family must come first; that family comes before football," Chizik wrote in the letter to the North Carolina community. "Simply put, it is time for me to walk the walk."

Chizik oversaw improvement in North Carolina's defense in 2015, when the team won the ACC Coastal title. North Carolina went 19-8 during his time as defensive coordinator.