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Heel Tough Blog: Tar Heels Hire Veteran Special Teams Analyst to Staff

Austin Perryman- Mississippi State Athletics

The Tar Heels offseason overhaul of their staff has been the most aggressive of the Mack Brown era and it continued with a new addition on Monday.

As first reported by, veteran special teams coach Eric Mele will join the Tar Heel staff as a special teams analyst. He will work alongside special teams coordinator Larry Porter, who has been in that role for each of the last two seasons.

Mele spent the last four seasons with the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the last two of which he held the special coordinator role. He produced some very solid unit in his four seasons, including a group that was ranked the No. 1 special teams in the country by PFF in 2022. Prior to his time in Starksville, he served as the special teams coordinator for Mike Leach at Washington State in the final five seasons in Pullman. In those five years, reaching many major milestones and helping to produce one of the nation’s best kickers in 2017, Erik Powell.

Mele will now join Porter as they try to find answer for a special teams unit that hit a new low under Mack Brown a year ago. The team finished bottom five nationally in punt average and kick return average allowed, while also finishing outside the top 100 nationally in punt return average allowed. The punt coverage unit also allowed three blocks last season, including the one that eventually led to veteran punter Ben Kiernan’s season-ending injury. With a ton of roster turnover this offseason for this unit, there is a lot of work to do to get things turned around this season.


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