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From SEC defensive coordinator to middle school assistant

He's brought home the Broyles award as the top assistant in college football back in 2011 while at LSU, and he's been considered one of the top defensive minds in the game as the defensive coordinator at programs like Tennessee and LSU.

Now, former LSU, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas A&M defensive coordinator John "Chief" Chavis is helping to coach a middle school team, an article done today by Chris Low at shares.

It's a similar path that many, many coaches before him choose to take for a variety of reasons, and many coaches after Chavis will do the same. For some it's about staying involved in the game at a pure, grassroots level. For others it's just having an outlet to continue to coach, regardless of level. Still, for others it's simply about having football in your DNA, and wanting to pass along a genuine love for the game.

In the article, Chavis shares how refreshing it is that most of the kids have no clue who he is or where he has coached. That is, all but one kid, who is the youngest son of Alabama special assistant Butch Jones.

The article shares that Chavis isn't ruling out a return to coaching at the college or NFL level, and that he had some conversations with teams before the pandemic hit.

"If it's over, it's over. But before I say it's over, I want to see what else is out there, college or NFL. I've got some people who have talked to me and are talking to me, and I'd even take a high school job. I love doing this. I'm going to coach as long as I'm healthy and the good Lord wants me to do this. I've still got that passion."

Chavis, who is 63, went on to share that if his coaching journey at the higher ranks is in fact over, he doesn't have any regrets other than the bad taste left in his mouth from his last two college coaching stops at Texas A&M and Arkansas, where his defenses struggled.

"Nobody wants to go out like that, but not many of us in this business do go out on our terms. It's a blessing if you can, and sometimes it's a blessing if you can't because there are other things you can get involved with, like coaching these kids and doing it with such good people and good friends.

"I'm having fun. I'm not just saying that because I think it's the thing to say. If I wasn't having fun, I wouldn't be doing it."

Head here to read more from Chris Low via the full piece from ESPN.