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Hargreaves Leaving ECU To Join Holtz At USF

WITN has learned that Vernon Hargreaves, East Carolina's defensive ends coach and special teams coordinator, is accepting a position at the University of South Florida under new Bulls head coach Skip Holtz.

Hargreaves biography according to ecupirates.com:

Hargreaves, who spent four years on Skip Holtz' staff at Connecticut from 1994 to 1997, has enjoyed an eventful and productive initial two seasons at ECU as his fingerprints were clearly visible on the development of a pair of All-Conference USA defensive end performers, five game-winning field goals and a story-book career finish of one of college football's all-time leading kickoff return specialists.

Many around the Pirate program were quick to credit Hargreaves' pair of starting ends - Zack Slate and C.J. Wilson - as playing a pivotal role in the continued overall improvement of ECU's defensive unit during the 2007 and 2008 campaigns. Wilson, who earned C-USA Defensive Player-of-the-Year honors from ESPN.com and the Sporting News, led the Pirates in both sacks (10.5) and tackles for lost yardage (18.5), while Slate added a second-best five quarterback drops to bookend a front line that was credited as being one of the top run-stopping units in the league.

His special teams supervision certainly provided East Carolina with a significant shot in the arm as the Pirates finished with a No. 13 national rank in kickoff return average in 2007. Hargreaves also added the final polish to Chris Johnson's storied career, which enabled the electrifying senior to earn first-team All-America honors and complete the 2007 campaign as one of the country's top return specialists.

In addition, he provided a steady and guiding hand to ECU's kicking game that produced pressure-packed game-winning field goals against North Carolina and Boise State - arguably the Pirates' two biggest triumphs of the season - during his first year. Hargreaves oversaw two overtime three-pointers a year later in 2008 that enabled ECU to defeat UCF and Marshall in successive weeks before kicker Ben Hartman delivered the C-USA Championship Game clincher against Tulsa on a 36-yarder with 1:43 to play.

In all, the Pirates completed the '08 season ranked 10th nationally in net punting average (37.9 ypp) while Hartman stood second among all FBS placekickers with a 1.91 field goals per game average.

Prior to a brief stint at Bowling Green State University and a one-year stay at Florida International where he coached Lombardi Award nominee Keyonvis Bouie, Hargreaves enjoyed a successful eight-year tenure at Miami from 1998 to 2005. While with the Hurricanes, he is credited with molding some of the nation's finest linebackers, including 2000 Butkus Award winner Dan Morgan and 2004 first-round draft choices Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams, as well as playing a key role in developing the UM defense into one of the nation's top units over a five-season span under head coaches Butch Davis and Larry Coker.

A member of his linebacking unit served as the 'Canes top tackler for six consecutive years, and in 2003, Hargreaves shaped a unit that produced two of the 11 semi-finalists for the Butkus Award. From 2000 to 2005, the Miami defense stood among the nation's top 10 statistical leaders on 20 occasions in five different categories, which included No. 1 ranks in scoring defense (2001), pass defense (2002, 2003, 2005), pass efficiency defense (2001, 2002, 2005) and turnover margin (2001).

During Miami's 12-0 national championship season in 2001, which was capped by a 37-14 win over Nebraska in the Rose Bowl, Hargreaves helped guide a Hurricane defense that allowed just 9.4 points per game, only 138.2 passing yards a contest while netting a +2.36 edge in turnover margin. A year later, UM's defense surrendered a paltry 119.7 passing yards per game on the way to a 12-1 campaign that concluded with title game appearance against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

During his time at Miami, Hargreaves enjoyed a run of eight consecutive bowl appearances beginning in 1998 which resulted in victories against N.C. State (Micron PC), Georgia Tech (Gator), Florida (Sugar, Peach), Nebraska (Rose) and Florida State (Orange).

Hargreaves, 46, accepted his position at Miami after 13 seasons on the University of Connecticut staff, where he was outside linebackers coach from 1985-89 and inside linebackers coach from 1989-97. While at his alma mater, he played a pivotal role in the development of Paul Duckworth, who was a sixth-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1994.

A native of New Haven, Hargreaves earned a bachelor's of science degree in sociology from Connecticut in 1986. Prior to graduation, he was a four-year football letterman for the Huskies who earned All-America honors as a junior and senior linebacker.

He still ranks fifth on the UConn career tackles list with 393, holds two of the top-10 single-season tackle marks and stands as one of only eight Huskies to register 20 tackles in a single game (vs. Holy Cross in 1983). At the end of his collegiate career, Hargreaves signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns and played professional football in Italy.

In 1998, Hargreaves was named a member of UConn's 100th Anniversary Team commemorating the greatest players in the football program's first century. On March 24, 2007, he was inducted into the inaugural class of New Haven's James Hillhouse High School Athletic Hall-of-Fame after earning all-state honors as a prep standout in the late 1970s.

He and wife Jackie are the parents of three children - daughter Carina, son Vernon III and daughter Chanelle.


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