Arizona State co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Ron West is leaving the school for a position at North Carolina, an athletic department source confirmed Sunday.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity because UNC has yet to announce West’s hiring, said the move has been in the works for a few weeks. West’s addition to the North Carolina staff was first reported Saturday by Inside Carolina.
West is the second assistant to leave coach Todd Graham’s staff after one season in Tempe, as running backs coach Larry Porter recently left for the same position at Texas. Other coaches have been targeted as well this offseason, including offensive coordinator Mike Norvell.
In the move to UNC, West reunites with Vic Koenning, the Tar Heels’ associate head coach for defense, whom West worked with at Clemson (2005-08) and Illinois (2010-11). He has experience coaching the “bandit” position, a hybrid defensive end/linebacker position that is part of UNC’s defense, though it’s unclear exactly what West’s title will be on Larry Fedora’s staff.
West previously worked for Graham as co-defensive coordinator at Tulsa in 2009.
After Porter’s departure last month, Graham spoke to FOXSportsArizona.com about the importance of continuity and stability on a coaching staff.
“When you’re teaching young people whatever thing about this game, it’s about building relationships,” Graham said, “so if you constantly have turnover in your top coaches, it’s very difficult to maintain your level and continue to get better.”
Given that philosophy, Graham could look to his own staff to fill the new vacancy, with one possibility being graduate assistant/outside linebackers coach Dan Lanning. Lanning coached defensive backs under Graham at Pittsburgh in 2011 and also served as lead recruiter for several states.