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January 7, 2007

Texas hires Mac Duff to help with defense

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AUSTIN, Texas - Larry Mac Duff has joined Texas coach Mack Brown's staff as defensive co-coordinator and assistant head coach after four seasons as the San Francisco 49ers' special teams coordinator.

"We are very excited about Larry joining our staff," Brown said Sunday night.

Mac Duff replaces Gene Chizik, who left Texas after two seasons to become the head coach at Big 12 rival Iowa State.

The Longhorns won the 2005 national championship but fell to 10-3 this season and beat Iowa in the Alamo Bowl.

The Longhorns defense rated among the best in the country in rush defense but among the worst against the pass despite having Thorpe Award-winning cornerback Aaron Ross.

Mac Duff's hiring marks the second time since 2003 Brown has reached into the NFL ranks to hire a defensive coordinator. Former Denver Broncos coordinator Greg Robinson stayed two seasons in Austin before leaving to become the head coach at Syracuse.

Mac Duff is a 30-year coaching veteran at the college and NFL levels.

"Larry has laid a solid foundation and blueprint for the next special teams coach to follow," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "I know it was a difficult decision for Larry, but this was a great opportunity for him."

Mac Duff worked with Texas co-coordinator Duane Akina for 12 years when both were assistants at Hawaii and Arizona.

Mac Duff spent 12 seasons as the Wildcats' defensive coordinator, where his "Desert Swarm" defense was a dominating unit.

"This is a really unique opportunity for me that I couldn't pass up," Mac Duff said. "I enjoyed working with the 49ers, but with the chance to work at Texas with Coach Brown, the staff and players, it was really exciting."

Brown had considered giving the job outright to Akina but had said he wouldn't announce anything until after the Longhorns' bowl game, which Texas won 26-24.

"He's just a great teacher," Akina said. "I think we're fortunate to get a coach of his stature."

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