January 16, 2014 Updated: January 16, 2014 at 8:50 pm
Charlton Warren is leaving the Air Force football program for a position on Nebraska’s staff, an academy source confirmed Thursday to The Gazette.
Warren, an Air Force graduate, has been part of the Falcons coaching staff since 2005 and has spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator.
He will coach the defensive secondary at Nebraska, a position he held with Air Force from 2008-11 when he was also the recruiting coordinator.
Recruiting was Warren’s strong suit for the Falcons, as he helped to create a pipeline of talent from his native Georgia that included former 1,000-yard rusher Cody Getz and 15 Falcons from the 2013 roster.
Under his watch as coordinator — a title he shared with co-coordinator Steve Russ — Air Force’s defenses failed to keep up in the Mountain West, dipping to a 2-10 record in 2013 that put an end to a six-year bowl run. The defensive unit ranked 116th nationally in points allowed (40 ppg), No. 114 in total defense (490.3 ypg), No. 122 in team passing efficiency defense (170.67) and No. 123 in third down conversion defense (58.9 percent).
There was wide speculation that the recent hiring of Brian Knorr, most recently the defensive coordinator as Wake Forest, would mean a demotion for Warren, or that Knorr would take over a newly created position as an assistant head coach to oversee the defense. Knorr’s title still has not been announced, even after Warren’s departure on Thursday.
Warren earned the Mr. Intensity Award as a senior when he helped the Falcons to their first consecutive 10-win seasons, and he carried that mantra into his role on the coaching staff — particularly on the recruiting trail.
“When he came into my house, it was just like ‘Whoa, he’s an Air Force guy,’” receiver Garrett Brown said. “Just the way he walked and he had this presence about him. I don’t know, there was just something about him that other coaches didn’t have. Other coaches, I don’t want to say they were begging, but they just didn’t carry themselves the same way. And that kind of stood out to my parents and to me.”
Warren will replace Terry Joseph, who took the secondary job at Texas A&M. The position figures to come with at least a moderate pay increase for Warren. According to a database of college coaches’ salaries compiled by USA Today, Joseph earned $245,000 in 2013 at Nebraska while Warren was paid $210,000 at Air Force.