ECU's Defensive Coordinator search Continues

Middle Tennessee Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix

Less than a week following Ruffin McNeill's decision not to bring back Brian Mitchell, the Pirates are getting closer to finding their man.

It didn't serve as a surprise to many when Brian Mitchell's contract was not extended last week.

The likely candidate to replace Mitchell was former ECU and current Florida State defensive-coordinator Greg Hudson.

During his tenure at ECU from 2005-2009, Hudson's defenses were the team's strong-suit and instrumental to helping the Pirates to back-to-back Conference USA titles in 2008 and 2009. Hudson threw ECU a curve-ball Monday when he turned down a reportedly generous offer to accept Purdue's defensive coordinator position.

Now it's time to go back to the drawing board.

It is doubtful we will see the Pirates hire from within because it is apparent that head coach Ruffin McNeill wasn't satisfied with the unit's performance, as a whole, in 2012.

Two names have surfaced that have expressed interest to fill the vacancy. Here's a profile on both of them.

Tyrone Nix: Middle Tennessee State defenisve-coordinator

Coaching experience:

- Southern Miss:(1995-2004) Nix coached every defensive position for the Golden Eagles before serving as the team's defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach during his last four seasons.

- South Carolina:(2005-2007) In his three years at Columbia, Nix was the co-defensive-coordinator and inside linebackers coach for the Gamecocks.

-Ole Miss: (2008-2011) After coaching one of the nation's best defenses in 2008 and 2009, Nix was promoted to assistant head coach of the Rebels in 2010.

-Middle Tennessee State:(2012-current) As the team's defensive coordinator, the Blue Raiders finished 8-4 in 2012.

Art Kaufman: Cincinnati defensive-coordinator

Coaching experience: Instead of lulling you to sleep by going through each of Kaufman's coaching jobs over his 29 year career, here are some of the highlights.

-Ole Miss:(1988-1992, 1995-2000) In his first stint with the Rebels, Kaufman was the linebackers and defensive-ends coach. When he returned in 1995, he was the team's defensive-coordinator under head coach Tommy Tubberville; which becomes a trend.

-East Carolina:(2003-2004) In his two seasons at ECU, Kaufman was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach under John Thompson.

-North Carolina:(2009-2011) Kaufman was the Tarheels' linebackers coach under Butch Davis before being promoted to defensive-coordinator by interim head coach Everett Withers; in the midst of the turmoil that took place at Chapel Hill. He was a finalist for the Broyles award in 2009, which is annually awarded to the top assistant in the nation.

-Texas Tech:(2012) Kaufman rejoined Tubberville in Lubbock last season as the team's defensive coordinator. After finishing 114 in overall defense in 2011, the Red Raiders defense was ranked No. 1 in the nation after 5 games in 2012.

-Cincinnati: (2013) In the past week, Kaufman agreed to follow Tubberville to Cincinnati to become the Bearcats' defensive coordinator. Recent reports have revealed that Kaufman has expressed interest in East Carolina, which has him in consideration.

Final Thought: I would be surprised if there weren't more candidates in consideration other than these two, but if you couldn't do worse than Nix or Kaufman, it's definitely a step in the right direction on the defensive side of the ball.

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