UNC Football: Looking at Ron West Hire


The North Carolina Tar Heels announced the hiring of co-defensive coordinator Ron West, who will join UNC after spending the 2012 season as the co-defensive coordinator with the Arizona State Sun Devils under head coach Todd Graham. UNC did an excellent job with this hire, as Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora and Ron West have plenty of familiarity with each other.

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West worked with Fedora while both coached in Waco for the Baylor Bears, and that coaching background usually leads to hires like this one. Fedora was able to poach West from a solid Pac-12 program in ASU, so that’s something else that raises the stock of UNC’s football program a little bit in itself. The hiring of West indirectly helps vault UNC’s status as a better program overall, especially with regards to landing coaches.

The Tar Heels will also give West the title of linebackers coach, so he has a chance to mold more Tar Heels LBs and send them into the NFL like the soon-to-be-drafted Kevin Reddick.

Ron West has been coaching for 30 years, so experience is obviously a huge plus with the former Arizona State assistant. West also coached with Larry Fedora at Illinois under top defensive coaches Vic Koenning and Dan Disch. The more I read about West’s pedigree in this league and background with Fedora, the more I love this hire for synergy, experience, and overall skill.

The synergy with Koenning is even more important, because he and West will be working extremely closely as co-DC and associate head coach on defense in Chapel Hill. Both guys also coached together with the Clemson Tigers, and both left the team (2008) in the same year. The difference is that Koenning started working there in 2005, while West started with his alma matter school in 1999.

The chemistry with Disch is just as important, because the former Southern Mississippi DC and Ron West are the co-DCs for North Carolina and will be charged with continually developing this defense. The roles that change among the three top defensive coaches is that Disch will also be coaching the cornerbacks, while Koenning will be overseeing the safeties.

This is what Larry Fedora said about the hire in a statement, “Ron is familiar with our staff and he brings a great deal of success and experience from his previous coaching stops. He’s an excellent teacher of defensive fundamentals who gets the most out of his players.  His knowledge of the ACC and ability to recruit in this area of the country will help our program.”

I completely agree on all points, and the familiarity that West has with the rest of the coaching staff is something that cannot be overstated. West has indeed had a successful college football career as a terrific defensive mind and one of the longest-tenured coaches out there. We’ll see how he impacts the Heels recruiting, but I know for a fact that West has a vast amount of knowledge about the ACC after coaching with Clemson for ten years.

This hire gets a solid “A” in my book for sure.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.