North Carolina will hire former Syracuse coach Greg Robinson as a defensive coordinator, according to multiple media reports.
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported via anonymous sources that Robinson will be hired as a co-defensive coordinator and playcaller. The website FootballScoop.com was the first to report that UNC would hire Robinson.
Robinson was hired by new UNC coach Mack Brown, who he coached with for two years at Texas. Brown was hired by the Tar Heels earlier this week to replace Larry Fedora.
Brown, 67, had retired from college football in 2013, when he was coaching with Texas. Robinson, 67, has been out of football since 2015, the second year of a two-year stint as defensive coordinator at San Jose State.
In his most recent work with Brown, Robinson took over the Texas defense in mid-season in 2013. The unit showed tremendous improvement, eventually helping the Longhorns to the Alamo Bowl. He also coached with Brown in 2004, helping Texas to a Rose Bowl win.
Syracuse fans, however, don’t have such fond memories.
Robinson is remembered by SU fans for his failed four-year stint as head coach of the Orange after taking over for long-time head coach Paul Pasqualoni. Robinson went 10-37 in his four years with Syracuse, with five of the wins wiped out by the NCAA violations. His two 10-loss seasons are the only double-digit loss seasons in Syracuse football history. He was fired after the 2008 season.
Robinson’s units also struggled while he was a coordinator at the University of Michigan in 2009 and 2010 under Rich Rodriguez.
Robinson’s positive contributions include serving as the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 1998, with his units performing very well. He has also been a coordinator with the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and UCLA.
The decision was the source of substantial criticism on social media, both because of Robinson’s mixed track record and the fact that both the head coach and his first coordinator hire have spent multiple seasons away from coaching football.
Syracuse faced North Carolina this season and isn’t scheduled to face the Tar Heels again until 2023.