Jovan Dewitt | Florida International University

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Jovan Dewitt's Resume
Team: Florida International University
Organization: NCAA Football
Position: Defensive Coordinator/LB
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Defensively, the Panthers will once again be guided by Jovan Dewitt, a 24-year veteran of collegiate coaching who is his second season at the helm of the FIU defense after joining Coach Mike MacIntyre’s staff in 2022.

In his first season with FIU, the Panthers boasted a total of four players earn All-Conference USA status and three honored with selection to the 2022 College Football News Freshman All-America squad.

Prior to his arrival in Miami, Dewitt was the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach at North Carolina under head coach Mack Brown.

During the 2020 campaign, Dewitt’s group of outside linebackers helped produce 36 sacks, the most for a Carolina defense since 2000 and tied for fifth nationally. The scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense all ranked in the Top 35 nationally of teams that played at least 10 games.

On special teams, Carolina was the second-ranked kickoff unit in the country behind kicker Jonathan Kim, who led the nation in touchbacks. Punter Ben Kiernan landed 16 of his 34 punts inside the 20, including eight inside the 10, and posted eight punts of at least 50 yards en route to a 43.7 yards per punt average. In addition, Dazz Newsome finished the season 13th nationally in punt return average.

Prior to his time in Chapel Hill, Dewitt held the title of special teams coordinator at Nebraska (2018-19) and was the associate head coach while also having special teams coordinator and linebacker coach on his list of responsibilities.  His punt overage unit with the Huskers in 2019 seventh nationally while allowing only 2.3 yards per return.

During his stay at UCF, Dewitt coached Butkus Award candidate Shaquem Griffin.  He helped the Knights improve their scoring defense ranking by 65 spots, as UCF went from allowing 37.7 points per game in 2015 to 25.3 points per game in 2017 – when the Knights finished a perfect 13-0.  Griffin went on to be a fifth-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

DeWitt has previously served as a defensive coordinator for nine seasons at FAU and Northern Michigan.  Including a Florida Atlantic unit that ranked 11th nationally in total defense in 2013.

Dewitt has also excelled at player development, as he has coached an all-conference linebacker in four of the last five seasons and has tutored two conference defensive players of the year in the past 10 years, including one national defensive player of the year.

As special teams coordinator, Dewitt's units posted seven combined punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns in a five-year span (2016-20) and his punt return team has blocked four punts over a three-year stretch (2018-20).

While at Nebraska in 2019, Dewitt guided a special teams unit that blocked three punts, while returning a punt for a touchdown. The punt coverage unit finished seventh nationally after allowing just 2.3 yards per return.

In 2018, Dewitt helped a pair of upperclassmen post career-best seasons. An All-Big Ten performer, Luke Gifford totaled 62 tackles and led Nebraska with 13 TFL and 5.5 sacks, after producing 47 tackles, six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in his first three seasons combined. Gifford posted the most sacks by a Husker linebacker in 13 seasons.

In two seasons at UCF, Dewitt helped Scott Frost and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander turn around the Knight defense. The UCF staff inherited a unit that ranked among the nation’s bottom 10 defenses in both scoring and total defense in 2015. But in just two seasons, Dewitt helped the Knights improve their scoring defense ranking by 65 spots, as UCF went from allowing 37.7 points per game in 2015 to 25.3 points per game in 2017. Dewitt’s linebackers also played a role in UCF ranking third nationally with 58 combined takeaways in the 2016 and ‘17 seasons.

During the Knights’ run to a perfect season and conference title in 2017, Dewitt’s linebackers helped UCF lead the AAC in defensive touchdowns, while ranking third in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. Two of Dewitt’s four starting linebackers earned all-conference accolades in 2017, when the Knights posted the first perfect season in AAC history and were the only undefeated team in the country.

In Dewitt’s first season at UCF in 2016, his linebacking corps played a lead role in the Knights ranking in the top 10 nationally in four defensive categories and in the top 25 in nine categories. UCF ranked second nationally in red zone defense, sixth in third-down defense, ninth in tackles for loss, 17th in sacks, 18th in turnovers forced and 24th in fumbles recovered. The defense was the key to UCF leading the nation with a six-win improvement from the 2015 to 2016 season. Griffin was named the 2016 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year after ranking ninth nationally in tackles for loss (20.0) and 11th in sacks (11.5).

Dewitt also made an impact as special teams coordinator. UCF ranked fourth nationally in kickoff returns in 2017 and sixth in punt returns. Individually, Mike Hughes ranked third nationally in kickoff returns and was fourth with two kickoff return touchdowns. Punter Mac Loudermilk pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard line on 45 percent of his punts during two seasons working with Dewitt, while kicker Matthew Wright connected on 17 field goals in 2016 and was named to the 2017 Lou Groza Award watch list.

Before joining the UCF staff, Dewitt was the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach at Army in 2014 and ‘15. As special teams coordinator, Dewitt helped the Black Knights combine for seven blocked kicks in his two seasons.

Dewitt spent the 2012 and ‘13 seasons at FAU, where he coached the linebackers and served as the interim defensive coordinator midway through the 2013 season. The Owls ranked 11th nationally in total defense that season and were second in pass defense and eighth in fewest first downs allowed. FAU also set a school record with 32 sacks in 2013 and cornerback D’Joun Smith was second nationally in passes defended and third in interceptions.

At Northern Iowa, Dewitt served as defensive coordinator for three seasons. UNI reached the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs twice and posted a 24-11 record in Dewitt’s three seasons. He coached linebacker LJ Fort to All-America honors and Fort was the 2011 FCS National Defensive Player of the Year. In Fort’s 2012 NFL debut, he became the first player since 1996 to record a sack and an interception in his first career NFL game.

Before moving up to the FCS level, Dewitt was the defensive coordinator at Division III St. Norbert for three seasons (2006-08). He also served as defensive coordinator at Division II Northern Michigan, his alma mater, in 2004 and ‘05. In 2003, Dewitt was an assistant coach at Division II Fairmont State, and his first full-time coaching job was as an assistant coach at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College in 2002. Dewitt also served as a graduate assistant at Northern Michigan in 2000 and ‘01, and he was a student assistant with the Wildcats in 1997.

As a player at Northern Michigan, Dewitt was a two-time All-American and the 1996 Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He played three seasons in the Arena Football League following his college career.

Dewitt earned his degree in physics and mathematics from Northern Michigan in 1999. He turned down an opportunity to work at NASA following graduation, instead opting to enter the coaching profession. Jovan and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters, Maya and Kira, and one son, Jovan Jr.

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