Everett Withers left Ohio State to take the head coaching job at FCS James Madison.
Withers, the Buckeyes' assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach, replaces longtime James Madison coach Mickey Matthews, who was dismissed after the Dukes finished 6-6 this past season.
"Everett is a proven winner and has shown his ability to lead," James Madison athletic director Jeff Bourse said in a statement. "The entire committee was incredibly impressed when we met with him."
Withers joined coach Urban Meyer's staff at Ohio State after Meyer was hired in 2011. He spent the previous season as interim head coach at North Carolina and posted a 7-6 record after Butch Davis was fired.
Other coaching stops during Withers' 26-year career include Texas, Minnesota, the New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans, tulane and Austin Peay.
The James Madison job is Withers' first as a permanent head coach. He takes over a team that made the FCS playoffs only once in the past five seasons.
"I'm happy for Coach Withers and his family," Meyer said. "Everett is extremely well respected in the coaching profession and I've enjoyed having him on our staff. He is a great family man, cares about his players and is an excellent recruiter. I expect that he will be a fine head coach."
Withers will remain with the Buckeyes through their Jan. 3 Orange Bowl game against Clemson.
He is the first assistant to leave Meyer's staff.
"I want to put a brand of football on the field that's exciting," Withers said. "Want to sling it around, throw it around a little bit on offense. Be aggressive on defense, attacking. And make Saturdays here at the stadium fun."
Withers signed a five-year contract worth $325,00 per year.