|Position:||Defensive Backs - Safeties|
Chuck Heater brings over four decades of college football coaching experience to College Park as he joins the Terps staff in 2018 as the safeties coach. The 2017 season marked Heater’s 42nd as a college assistant coach.
Heater, who has spent the past five seasons as Marshall’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach, has coached three National Championship teams (Notre Dame, 1988; Florida, 2006 and ’08) and has been part of 30 bowl games with a 24-6 record. The programs he’s coached have a combined record of 344-164-4 (.676) and he’s been part of 14 10-win seasons.
Maryland Head Coach DJ Durkin and Heater worked together at Florida during the 2010 season in which the Gators defeated Penn State in the Outback Bowl. Heater served as the co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach for a defense that ranked ninth nationally in total defense and 12th against the pass. While on staff with Durkin, Heater helped mentor a pair of Gator defensive backs, Ahmad Black and Janoris Jenkins, who garnered All-America honors.
Maryland is Heater's 13th coaching stop as he's also worked at Colorado, Colorado State, Florida, Marshall, Northern Arizona, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Temple, Toledo, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. He has been nominated three times for the Frank Broyles Award (2006, 2011, 2015), which is given to the nation's top assistant coach.
Before coming to Maryland, Heater worked as Marshall's defensive coordinator and secondary coach from 2013-17. The year before he arrived at Marshall, the Herd ranked 123rd (second last in the FBS) in scoring defense (43.1 ppg). Heater’s arrival provided immediate dividends, as Marshall slashed its points allowed per game to 22.9. The 20.1-point improvement was the best by a major college team since Central Michigan improved 20.5 points from 1997 to ’98.
In his first three seasons with Marshall, Heater’s defenses lowered their points-against ranking from 31st (22.9) in 2013, to No. 18 (21.0 ppg) in 2014 to No. 10 (17.8 ppg) in 2015. And in 2014 and ’15, the Herd had back-to-back Conference USA Defensive Players of the Year in linebackers Neville Hewitt (2014) and Evan McKelvey (2015). Hewitt made the Miami Dolphins’ roster as a free agent rookie in 2015 and played in all 16 games.
Over those three Herd seasons – 10-4, 13-1, 10-3, with three bowl wins and a final national ranking in 2014 – Heater’s defense had five All-C-USA first team picks. Counting his five total seasons as Marshall’s defensive coordinator, he boasted seven second team selections and 18 honorable mentions. There have also been eight C-USA All-Freshman choices.
In 2017, Marshall led Conference USA in rushing defense (121.2). It ranked in the top 25 nationally in: defensive touchdowns (eighth, 4), red zone defense (10th, .732), scoring defense (17th, 19.9), rushing defense (19th, 121.2), red zone touchdown percentage allowed (23rd, .512) and tackles for loss (24th, 7.2).
Heater served as the co-defensive coordinator at Florida in 2010 and assistant defensive coordinator in 2008 and 2009. He helped win two national titles during his six-year stint in Gainesville (where he coached alongside Holliday from 2005-07) and another in 1988 while serving as the secondary coach at Notre Dame.
In 2012 at Temple, Heater's unit produced the Big East Rookie of the Year in linebacker Tyler Matakevich, who became the first freshman in school history to record at least 100 tackles (101). The Owls ranked third in the league in sacks with 2.27 per contest. In 2011 in the Mid-American Conference, Temple dominated the league, ranking No. 3 nationally in scoring defense behind national champion Alabama and LSU. The Owls recorded two shutouts.
Heater, 65, has been associated with six National Coaches of the Year in his playing and coaching career (Barry Alvarez, Earle Bruce, Lou Holtz, Meyer, Bill McCartney and Bo Schembechler) while mentoring 21 NFL Draft selections and 25 NFL players as well as numerous all-conference picks, including Jim Thorpe Award winner Chris Hudson (Colorado).
Under his guidance, the Gators recorded 116 interceptions, the most in the SEC and the second-best total in the nation during that time frame. In 2010, Heater led the Gator secondary to a No. 3 ranking in SEC pass defense and SEC pass defense efficiency, while ranking second in the conference with 17 interceptions. Safety Ahmad Black was named a second team All-American in 2010.
In 2009, Heater helped guide a Florida secondary that ranked first in the SEC, the first time since 1988, and second in the nation in pass defense, allowing just 152.8 yards per game. Four opponents failed to crack the 100-yard mark in passing offense against the Gators and six completed fewer than 50 percent of their pass attempts. Heater helped turn around a defensive secondary that was one of the nation's worst in 2007 to rank among the best in 2008.
Heater served as the recruiting coordinator for the 2006 and 2007 Florida classes that ranked among the top two nationally, including No. 1 by several services. The 2008 class was ranked in the top five by several services.
Heater worked alongside Meyer at four different major college programs. In 1986, Heater coached the secondary at Ohio State when Meyer was a graduate assistant. They coached together again at Colorado State from 1991-92, where Heater was the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach and Meyer as the receivers coach. Heater was also a member of the Utah coaching staff in 2004, when the Utes went 12-0.
He spent five years at Washington (1999-2003), and during his first season at Notre Dame (1988), Heater was a member of the coaching staff that led the Irish to a 12-0 record and the 1988 national championship. He also served as the secondary coach at Notre Dame (1988-90), Ohio State (1985-87) and Wisconsin (1982-84). Heater coached the running backs from 1977-78 and the secondary at Toledo from 1979-81. He began his collegiate coaching career in 1976 at Northern Arizona, coaching running backs.
Heater was born Oct. 10, 1952 in Weston, W.Va. He grew up in Tiffin, Ohio, and received his bachelor's degree in education from Michigan in 1975. A three-year letter winner at running back, Heater earned All-Big Ten second team honors as a junior and was named honorable mention as a senior. Finishing his playing career as UM's No. 5 career rusher, with 1,981 yards on 406 carries (4.9-yard average), and he won the school's Fielding Yost Award for the most outstanding academic and athletic performance by a senior (1975).
During his three varsity seasons at Michigan, the Wolverines went 30-2-1 and won outright Big Ten championships or shared the league title every season.
Heater was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the 10th round with the 241st overall selection in the 1975 NFL Draft.
Heater and his wife, Deborah, have three children: Emily, Andy, and Adam. Emily is married to USF defensive tackles coach Sean Cronin and the couple has three daughters, Caitlin, Grace and Mary, and a son, Joseph. Andy was a defensive tackle at Washington in 2005 and is now an Airborne Army Ranger. He and his wife, Lauren, have two daughters, Sloan and Quinn. Adam also played tight end at UCLA.