Georgia inside linebackers coach/defensive special teams coordinator Mike Ekeler will be named defensive coordinator at North Texas under new head coach Seth Littrell’s first staff.
— Zach Barnett (@zach_barnett) December 17, 2015
Ekeler informed Georgia interim coach Bryan McClendon on Monday that he won’t coach in the TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Penn State on January 2.
“I feel horrible about it, especially for the kids,” said Ekeler, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. “I love those guys. When you’re a father and a parent and you’re providing for your family some time you take a job and you have to move on. That was kind of the situation I’m faced with.”
Ekeler had previously served as linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator at Indiana (2011-12), when Littrell was also on staff as the Hoosiers’ offensive coordinator. He also had served as linebackers coach at Nebraska for three seasons (2008-10) under head coach Bo Pelini, and held the same position at Southern Cal in 2013.
In two seasons with Georgia, Ekeler was a member of a defensive coaching staff that led units with the 16th-ranked scoring defense (20.7 points allowed per game) in 2014, and the 9th-ranked scoring defense (16.9) in 2015.
Ekeler will be taking on the tough task of rejuvenating a North Texas (1-11, 1-7 C-USA) defense that surrendered a seventh-worst (122nd nationally) 41.3 points per contest in 2015.