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Maryland football hires Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater

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We know he’ll coach the safeties, but not much else is clear.

Marshall v Western Kentucky Getty Images

Maryland football made its first coaching addition of the offseason last week, hiring former Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater to be its safeties coach. The team officially announced the move Tuesday afternoon.

“Chuck’s record speaks for itself,” head coach DJ Durkin said. “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.

“Chuck will coach safeties and work closely with Aazaar (Abdul-Rahim), who has done an outstanding job and will coach our cornerbacks,” Durkin continued. “Aazaar’s a great communicator, teacher and leader. I’m excited that these two tremendous coaches will be working together to lead our secondary.”

This is the first of what could be several dominoes to fall as far as Maryland coaching hires go, but outside of simply hiring replacements for Tucker and Bowen, not much else is clear. The Terps lost running backs coach Anthony Tucker and offensive line coach Tyler Bowen earlier this offseason, but nobody on defense, so it’s likely that Heater will fill the new 10th assistant coaching role.

Defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim will focus on cornerbacks and perhaps take more of a role in defensive game planning.

Heater served as Marshall’s defensive coordinator and safeties coach for the past five seasons, and took what was the nation’s second-worst scoring defense and molded it into one that ranked in the top 20 three times. Before Marshall and a brief stop at Temple, where he coached the nation’s No. 3 scoring defense, Heater was the co-defensive coordinator at Florida in 2010 while DJ Durkin was the Gators’ linebackers coach and special teams coordinator.

In his six years in Gainesville, Heater helped coach the Gators to two national titles. He also served as recruiting coordinator during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, each of which ranked either No. 1 or No. 2.

Maryland will be Heater’s 13th different program. The former Michigan running back has spent time at Florida, Colorado, Colorado State, Northern Arizona, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Temple, Toledo, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Marshall; he’s coached on the same staff as Urban Meyer four times. He was twice nominated for the Frank Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach. Heater was the secondary coach of the 1988 national champion Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Maryland was No. 116 in scoring defense last season, allowing 37.1 points per game.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on Jan. 4, but has since been updated to reflect the team’s announcement of its new coaching hires.