Former UNC football great Dré Bly finds new coaching gig at the college ranks

Dré Bly, a star cornerback for the UNC football program in the mid-1990s, was hired as a defensive analyst for the Charlotte 49ers.

Notre Dame v North Carolina
Notre Dame v North Carolina / Andy Mead/ISI Photos/GettyImages

One of the greatest pure defensive players in UNC football history is returning to the Tar Heel State. Former Tar Heel cornerback Dré Bly was hired as a defensive analyst with the Charlotte 49ers after spending a year as the cornerbacks coach for the Detroit Lions.

Hunter Bailey, the 49ers beat reporter at The Charlotte Observer, announced the news on X/Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.

Bly's UNC football career coincided with the apex of Mack Brown's first stint in Chapel Hill. From 1996 to 1998, Bly rolled up 20 interceptions, 11 of which came in his redshirt freshman year as the Tar Heels rolled to the third 10-win season in school history. He was lucky to have a ball thrown anywhere near him in his sophomore season, a year which saw the Tar Heels win 10 regular season games and 11 games overall for only the third time ever. Nevertheless, he was a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy as the nation's best defensive player.

He was the first two-time consensus first-team All-American in both North Carolina and ACC history, and the first in ACC history to be named as a first-team All-American by at least one major selector on three occasions. He is one of only five freshmen in FBS history to be named a consensus All-American. Bly's No. 31 jersey was honored by UNC football in 1999, and he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Bly then spent 11 years in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams (1999-2002), Detroit Lions (2003-2006), Denver Broncos (2007-2008) and San Francisco 49ers (2009). He won a Super Bowl with the Rams in 1999 and was named to the Pro Bowl with the Lions in both 2003 and 2004.

After serving as a coaching intern with the New Orleans Saints in 2017 and the Miami Dolphins in the 2018 preseason, Bly returned to Chapel Hill alongiside Brown in 2019 as cornerbacks coach. He was also one of the Tar Heels' top recruiters, and was named the ACC Recruiter of the Year by in 2022. He then moved to the LIons as cornerbacks coach, helping lead them to their deepest playoff run in the Super Bowl era.

Bly will be reunited with his son, Trey, who played four years for Charlotte and is now a defensive student assistant.

Next. All 32 NFL teams represented at UNC football program's Pro Day. All 32 NFL teams represented at UNC football program's Pro Day. dark