August 16, 2009

LSU's Native defensive coordinator

DC:  defensive 'chief'

Work ethic instilled into LSU assistant Chavis at young age

By Randy Rosetta
When LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis discusses his early life, it at first sounds like the theme of a country song from the 1970s or ’80s.

Talk to him long enough, though, and you figure out Chavis was a man destined to climb to the top of whatever profession he chose.

When the 55-year-old Chavis was named defensive coordinator in January, his credentials were alternately lauded and dissected. LSU and Tennessee fans burned up the Internet debating the pros and cons about the man who is being counted on to knock off last season’s tarnish on the Tigers’ proud defensive tradition.

What isn’t debatable is Chavis has been one of the most successful defensive coordinators in college football since he took that job at Tennessee in 1995.
And:Chavis’ background didn’t lend itself to him reaching the highest level of college football.

His parents are both Native American—his mother a Cherokee and his father a member of the Lumbee tribe.

That heritage is a deep source of pride for Chavis, the only Native American in a coordinator position in the Football Championship Subdivision.

“I’ve never thought of myself as anything but an American, but I do take a lot of pride in who my parents are and where they came from,” Chavis said.

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