Colorado hires Gerald Chatman to replace Vic So'oto as defensive line coach
Colorado announced Monday evening it has hired Gerald Chatman to be the Buffaloes’ new defensive line coach.
Chatman, 33, comes over from Tulane after spending just a few months with the Green Wave. He was a defensive analyst for LSU during the 2021 season before being hired as the Tulane defensive line coach in January. Oddly enough, Chatman jumping up from the Group of Five level to the Power Five level at Colorado is exactly the kind of move that opened the position on Colorado’s staff in the first place.
He’ll replace former defensive line coach Vic So’oto, who was hired on Dec. 30 but left last month after just two months on the job. Initially, Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell said that So’oto’s departure was “purely family-related” and due to additional support on the West Coast, where So’oto is from.
The assistant coach then landed on Cal’s coaching staff and took to Twitter to directly refute that he left the CU program for family reasons. “Proximity to ‘support’ was not on the list of my reasons to leave CU,” he said. “This next opportunity was purely one I couldn’t pass up. I’ll go anywhere to coach if the opportunity is right.”
Colorado can now turn to spring ball with a full staff once again.
“Gerald is a young, passionate coach that is excited about joining our staff,” Dorrell said of the hire in a statement. “He will bring energy, skill development, interpersonal and leadership skills to mentor our young men. He has experience on both the college and NFL levels, and I believe has a very bright future in our profession.”
Chatman spent the 2019 and 2020 seasons with the National Football League’s Cincinnati Bengals as a defensive assistant, where he worked primarily with the team’s defensive ends and outside linebackers.
Prior to joining the Bengals, Chatman spent two seasons (2017-18) at Tennessee State University, where he worked as the defensive ends/linebackers coach in 2017 and then had special teams coordinator duties added to his title for the 2018 season.
That year, he coached three special teams players to All-Ohio Valley Conference honors, including Chris Rowland, the OVC special teams player of the year (he averaged 13.0 yards per punt return). He also coached end Mekhi Brown to second-team All-OVC honors after Brown posted 6.5 tackles for losses and four sacks.
Chatman has worked with three NFL teams as a defensive coaching intern through the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship program, which takes place during summer camps. He spent the summer of 2015 as a defensive coaching intern with the Green Bay Packers, where he assisted with both the defensive line and linebacker units. He was also selected to participate in the NFL-NCAA Coaches Academy that season. He spent a portion of the 2016 NFL preseason as a defensive coaching intern with the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos, and then in 2018, he had his first position with the Bengals, working OTA’s (organized team activities) and camp.
Chatman got his start in coaching at his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he served as the defensive line coach in 2010 and 2011. He moved to Ball State as a defensive graduate assistant for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. In 2014, he was the defensive line coach and assistant recruiting coordinator at Butler. In 2015, he served as a grad assistant at Texas A&M, working primarily with the defensive line and All-American Myles Garrett.
“My family and I are excited to be a part of the CU and the football program under the leadership of Coach Dorrell and athletic director Rick George,” Chatman said in a statement. “It is clear that a great foundation has been built under their leadership and I look forward to getting to work, leading and maximizing the potential of those I get to work with daily. I am excited to get to work!”