Trei Oliver is headed home, and Southern is searching for a new defensive coordinator.
Oliver, whose defense stood tall during a midseason turnaround that vaulted the Jaguars to a division title, will leave his post after three seasons to become head coach at his alma mater, North Carolina Central.
HBCU Gameday and WTVD in Durham, North Carolina, were first to report the news.
NCCU, which moved from Division II to the FCS Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in 2011, has scheduled a news conference for Thursday, the television station reported.
Oliver played at NCCU in the 1990s and returned there to coach as an assistant to Rod Broadway in 2003.
Oliver stayed with Broadway, himself a North Carolina native, as they moved on to a successful four-year stint at Grambling before taking over at North Carolina A&T in 2011.
SU coach Dawson Odums hired Oliver in 2016 to take over at Southern.
Odums, who was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach at SU in 2012, said he tried to hire Oliver then but the timing wasn’t right.
Oliver finished his third season as defensive coordinator and played a major role in the Jaguars’ run to the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game.
Southern, which faced a tough early schedule and struggled in its SWAC opener, a 29-27 win over Alabama A&M, soon turned around its season — and the defense was in the middle of the makeover.
Over the next four games, the Jaguars allowed an average of 8.5 points, posting a shutout at Prairie View and allowing just one touchdown in wins over Texas Southern and Jackson State.
Southern went on to defeat Grambling 38-28 in the Bayou Classic to clinch the Western Division.
The Jaguars lost at Alcorn State 37-28 in the SWAC title game Dec. 1.
Southern’s defense allowed an average of 25.2 points per game.