HUNTINGTON — After molding some of the best defenses in modern Marshall football history, coordinator Chuck Heater is departing to become a position coach at Maryland.
The position might be filled in house, as The Athletic reports that linebackers coach/special teams coordinator Adam Fuller will be promoted.
A source at MU confirmed Heater’s departure Thursday, but did not confirm any promotion.
Terrapin Sports Report states that Heater will tutor safeties under that team’s defensive coordinator, Andy Buh, and head coach D.J. Durkin. Heater was in charge of the entire secondary at MU, in addition to his coordinating duties. Heater and Durkin spent one season together on Urban Meyer’s University of Florida staff in 2010, where Heater was co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach and Durkin coached linebackers and special teams.
It is uncertain if pay was a factor, though coaching salaries at “Power 5” schools can dwarf those at lower-level programs. According to state records, Heater was paid $230,000 in the calendar year 2016. Azaar Abdul-Rahim, who just finished his second year as a Maryland assistant coaching defensive backs, made $250,000 according to USA Today’s assistant coach salary chart.
Heater, who was born in Weston and raised in Ohio, spent five seasons at Marshall under coach Doc Holliday. A veteran of four decades in the coaching profession, he faced a giant task in righting the Herd defense when he came to town in 2013.
The 2012 Herd gave up a school-record 517 points in 12 games, beginning with West Virginia scoring 69 and ending with East Carolina tallying 65 in an overtime loss that knocked the Herd from bowl contention. The Herd was 119th of 120 teams in scoring defense (43.08 average) and 113th in total defense (456.56).
In 2013, MU shot up to 32nd in scoring defense (22.9) and 35th in total defense (368.6). In the Herd’s Conference USA championship season of 2014, the Herd was 18th in scoring defense (21.0), 31st in total defense (357.1) and 22nd in team pass efficiency defense.
Neville Hewitt was C-USA’s defensive player of the year that season, with Evan McKelvey winning the award in 2015.
Marshall already is looking for an offensive coordinator following the resignation of Bill Legg. Holliday is expected to attend the American Football Coaches Association convention next week in Charlotte, North Carolina.