The recipient of the 2011 Broyles National Assistant Coach of the Year, defensive coordinator John Chavis continued to put his mark on the Tiger defense in his third season at LSU in 2011. With a philosophy that features aggressive play (pressure the quarterback), a commitment to being physical (win the battle up front) and one that has the Tigers displaying a certain swagger (make opponents earn every yard) the Tigers have thrived under Chavis.
Entering his fourth season in 2012, Chavis has established the Tiger defense as one of the nation's elite as LSU has improved statistically each year since his arrival in 2009.
LSU had its best year yet under Chavis in 2011 as the Tigers capped the year ranked in the top five in the nation in four categories including total defense (No. 2 at 261.5), scoring defense (No. 2 at 11.29), pass efficiency defense (No. 3 with 95.58 rating) and rushing defense (No. 5 at 90.07). LSU also ranked No. 8 nationally in pass defense with 171.43 yards per game.
LSU's 2011 defense featured a young and explosive defensive front along with arguably the nation's top secondary with two national award winners in Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Claiborne. LSU allowed only six first half touchdowns, including just two in the first quarter, all season as the Tigers rode their dominant defense's style of play to a 13-0 regular season mark and the SEC title.
In back-to-back years, Chavis and the Tiger defense have featured the Thorpe Award winner (nation's top defensive back) in Patrick Peterson in 2010 and Claiborne in 2011 as well as the Bednarik Award winner (nation's top defender) in Peterson and Mathieu in 2011. LSU also is home to the past two SEC Defensive Players of the Year in Peterson (2010), Mathieu (2011 by AP) and Claiborne (2011 by Coaches).
LSU had four players off its 2011 defense selected in the NFL Draft, including two first rounders in Claiborne (6th overall) and defensive tackle Michael Brockers (12th overall).
In 2010, LSU led the SEC and ranked 10th in the nation in pass defense (169.8 yards per game) and they were No. 11 in scoring defense (18.2 points per game) and No. 12 in total defense (307.2 yards per game).
Chavis' 2010 defense featured Peterson, who was picked with the fifth overall selection in NFL Draft, along with linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and defensive tackle Drake Nevis, who were both first-team All-SEC picks.
In his first year at LSU in 2009, Chavis turned around a Tiger defense, taking a unit that ranked near the bottom of the SEC in 2008 to one that was among the top four in the league the following year. LSU finished the 2009 season ranked third in the league and 11th in the nation in scoring defense and they were fourth in the SEC in rushing defense. LSU allowed only six rushing TDs in 2009, the second-lowest total in the league.
With 23 years of experience in the rugged Southeastern Conference - 17 as a defensive coordinator - Chavis has produced a defense that has ranked among the top four in the league in total defense 12 times. Furthermore, Chavis has developed 38 players into first-team All-SEC selections since 1995 with another 13 earning first-team All-America honors.
In addition to his duties as defensive coordinator, Chavis also coaches the linebackers, a position that proved to be the strength of the LSU defense in his first two years with the Tigers. LSU's top four tacklers in 2009 were all linebackers, a first for the Tigers since the 1985 season, and in 2010, linebackers represented the top two tacklers on the team.
LSU's had linebackers selected in the NFL Draft in both 2010 and 2011 with Perry Riley going in the fourth round in 2010 and Sheppard being taken in the third round in 2011. It's the first time since the mid-80s that LSU has had linebackers picked in consecutive years in the NFL Draft.
Prior to his arrival in Baton Rouge in 2009, Chavis spent 14 seasons as the defensive coordinator at Tennessee, helping the Vols to win at least nine games in a season 11 times. The Vols won at least 10 games in a season eight times during his time as defensive coordinator, which included a school-record 13 victories during their national championship season in 1998. The Vols had 11 wins 1995, 1997, and 2001 and they won 10 games in 1996, 2003, 2004, and 2007.
With Chavis as the defensive coordinator, Tennessee made five appearances in the SEC Championship Game, winning the league title in 1997 and 1998, and they were invited to three BCS bowl games.
Other coaching accomplishments for Chavis at Tennessee include coaching four linebackers to first-team All-America honors in Leonard Little (1997), Al Wilson (1998), Raynoch Thompson (1999) and Kevin Burnett (2004). All four of those players were selected in the NFL Draft with Wilson being a first round selection. Chavis also coached Jerod Mayo, who was the 10th player taken in the 2008 NFL Draft and was named the 2008 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Chavis, who is originally from Dillon, S.C., is married to the former Diane Crisp. They are the parents of sons, John and Jason.
The Chavis File
Year at LSU: Fourth (appointed Jan. 5, 2009)
Birthdate: Oct. 16, 1956 in Dillon, S.C.
Wife: Diane Crisp Davis
Children: John, Jason
High School: Dillon (S.C.) High School
College: Tennessee, '79
1976-78 Tennessee (middle guard)
1979 Tennessee (graduate assistant)
1980-83 Alabama A&M (defensive line)
1984-85 Alabama State (defensive coordinator)
1986-88 Alabama A&M (defensive coordinator)
1989-2008 Tennessee (defensive line/linebackers, 1989-94; defensive coordinator/linebackers, 1995-2008)
2009- LSU (defensive coordinator/linebackers)
Year Bowl Team Opponent Results
1979 Bluebonnet Tennessee Purdue L, 27-22
1990 Cotton Tennessee Arkansas W, 31-27
1991 Sugar Tennessee Virginia W, 23-22
1992 Fiesta Tennessee Penn State L, 42-17
1993 Hall of Fame Tennessee Boston College W, 38-23
1994 Florida Citrus Tennessee Penn State L, 31-13
1994 Gator Tennessee Virginia Tech W, 45-23
1996 Florida Citrus Tennessee Ohio State W, 20-14
1997 Florida Citrus Tennessee Northwestern W, 48-28
1998 Orange Tennessee Nebraska L, 42-17
1999 Fiesta Tennessee Florida State W, 23-16
2000 Fiesta Tennessee Nebraska L, 31-21
2001 Cotton Tennessee Kansas State L, 35-21
2002 Florida Citrus Tennessee Michigan W, 45-17
2002 Peach Tennessee Maryland L, 30-3
2004 Peach Tennessee Clemson L, 27-14
2005 Cotton Tennessee Texas A&M W, 38-7
2007 Outback Tennessee Penn State L, 20-10
2008 Outback Tennessee Wisconsin W, 21-17
2010 Capital One LSU Penn State L, 19-17
2011 Cotton LSU Texas A&M W, 41-24
2012 BCS LSU Alabama L, 21-0