- Associated Press - Thursday, December 22, 2016

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) - North Alabama has promoted defensive coordinator Chris Willis to head coach.

The university announced Thursday that Willis will replace Bobby Wallace, who retired after leading the Lions to the Division II national championship game.

Willis was North Alabama’s defensive coordinator the past five seasons and was also an assistant under Wallace’s predecessors Mark Hudspeth and Terry Bowden.

The Lions led the nation in pass efficiency defense and ranked third in scoring defense last season. They’ve won four straight Gulf South Conference titles.

Athletic director Mark Linder says Willis hasn’t signed a contract yet but that the multi-year deal will be completed after the holiday break.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org

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