UNC hires North Texas' Mike Ekeler as linebackers coach

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina has hired Mike Ekeler from North Texas to coach its linebackers.

The school announced Ekeler's hiring Friday, filling the opening created when Gene Chizik stepped down earlier this month.

Ekeler spent last season as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach the Mean Green, who are coached by former North Carolina assistant Seth Littrell. He also worked with current defensive coordinator John Papuchis at LSU and Nebraska.

Coach Larry Fedora calls Ekeler ''a well-respected, energetic coach'' whose transition to UNC will be made easier by his prior experience with Papuchis.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.