Gene Chizik

Armed with a hefty buyout – $3.5 million annually through 2015 – a nice media job and some wise perspective, Gene Chizik could afford to be picky for his next job. According to ESPN’s Joe Schad, Chizik has chosen the North Carolina defensive coordinator job to be his return to coaching. We confirmed the hire later last night.

Sirius XM also confirmed the news, a good source considering they were his employer until today.

Why North Carolina? Chizik hasn’t spoken yet, but here’s what he told USA Today’s Dan Wolken 13 months ago on when and why he would jump back into coaching. “I’m going to enjoy the first Thanksgiving I’ve had in 27 years without the pressure to win a game and I’m going to enjoy that,” he said at the time. “But if the right thing hits, that will be great because I am a football coach.”

Chizik has plenty of skins on the wall as a defensive coordinator – an undefeated season at Auburn, a national championship at Texas – not to mention a national championship as Auburn’s head coach. But those situations are much different than what he steps into at North Carolina.

After starting the 2014 season ranked in the AP and coaches’ polls, North Carolina finished 6-7 while ranking 119th in scoring defense, 120th in total defense, 117th in yards per play allowed, 120th in rushing defense and 117th in pass efficiency defense.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.