A longtime college football assistant, Heater has directed the Owls defense for two years. In 2011 Temple ranked 13th among Football Bowl Subdivision schools in points allowed, giving up less than two touchdowns per game. The Owls also finished 27th in rushing defense (123.92 YPG), 15th in passing defense (187.8 YPG) and 13th in total defense (311.8 YPG). An aggressive group, Temple lead the Mid American Conference with 33 sacks. A number of Owl defenders earned individual honors in 2011 including first team All-MAC defensive end Chris Jones and linebacker Tahir Whitehead, a second team selection.
Rejoining the Big East in 2012 Temple’s defense struggled, allowing opposing offenses to rack up 437 yards per game, ranking 90th in the FBS. The defense was further hindered by youth, leading tacklers Tyler Matakevich (110 tackles) and Nate Smith (75 tackles) were only freshman. Spearheaded by former Marshall defensive end John Youboty and his team leading five sacks, the Owls defense remained aggressive while sacking opposing quarterbacks 25 times, good enough for third in the conference.
Heater became available when former Temple head coach Steve Addazio left for Boston College and hired Don Brown as his defensive coordinator. New Owls coach Matt Ruhle did not offer Heater a spot on his staff.
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday and Heater were assistants together at Florida from 2005 to 2007, winning the 2006 National Championship. Over a 36 year coaching career Heater has also been a assistant at Utah, Washington, Colorado, Colorado State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Toldeo, and Northern Arizona. From 1972 to 1974 he was a standout running back at Michigan, rushing for 1,995 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Heater takes over for Chris Rippon who resigned in December after serving as defensive coordinator for three seasons.