Chris Taber Resigns As Jacksonville AD/Head Football Coach + Returning To Chapel Hill As OC
Chris Taber has resigned as athletic director and head football coach at Jacksonville, and is returning to Chapel Hill as its offensive coordinator, he told ETSN.fm Tuesday afternoon.
"It was time for me to make change," Taber said. "(Chapel Hill head coach Thomas Sitton) and his staff gave me an opportunity I couldn't pass, so my wife and I are going back to Chapel Hill."
Taber went 8-23 in three years at Jacksonville, making the playoffs in his 2012 debut season. Following a 4-7 campaign, the Indians went 0-10 the next year -- the program's first winless season since 1986. Jacksonville finished 4-6 last season.
"I'm grateful for Jacksonville giving me the opportunity," Taber said. "And we had some big wins while I was here. We beat Carthage when they were No. 1, and of course, last year we had the Nacogdoches game we won in five overtimes. We just couldn't do it on a consistent basis."
Taber served as Chapel Hill offensive coordinator during Sitton's first three years with the Bulldogs, from 2009-2011. In those three years, Chapel Hill went 33-7 and played for two state championships, winning the 2011 3A Division I title.
"It's easier going back to a place where I'm comfortable, working for someone I've worked with before and I know what their expectations of me are," Taber said. "They've been really supportive of me, trying to get me back."
Taber will replace former Chapel HIll OC Brad Baca, who left to become the Pittsburg AD/head football coach in December. Baca served as the receivers coach when Taber was at Chapel Hill previously.
"There will be a lot of similarities," Taber said. "We may tweak a few things here and there. But these kids were freshmen and eighth-graders when I was there. They'll be familiar faces and I'll be a familiar face to them. The transition won't be very difficult, the learning curve won't be as great."
Chapel Hill was 6-6 last season and will return several key offensive playmakers in 2015, including quarterback Konnor Hitchcock, running back Ja'Braylon Franklin, receivers Deundre Phillips and Zack Walters, and H-back Reggie King.
"We're really glad to have him back," Sitton said of Taber. "He's a great football coach, great with the kids, great leader, great motivator. I feel like he can come in here and do some great things with our offense. He has a great football mind, and we're proud to have him back."
Meanwhile, Jacksonville will be searching for its fourth head coach since longtime Indians boss Danny Long left the program following the 2002 season. In 12 years under Long, Jacksonville went 94-47 (.667). The Indians are 54-74 (.422) in the 12 seasons since.
Taber said the Chapel Hill hire has not been made official yet, but he hopes to begin his second tenure with the Bulldogs in a little more than two weeks.
The story was first reported by Smoaky.com.