Brian VanGorder Named Georgia Southern Head Football Coach

Dec. 12, 2005

STATESBORO, Ga. - Georgia Southern University Director of Athletics Sam Baker introduced Brian VanGorder as the new head football coach Friday afternoon (Dec. 9). The announcement took place during a press conference held in the Nessmith Lane Building.


Most recently VanGorder, the fifth full-time coach in Eagle history, has spent the 2005 season as linebackers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He will remain with the Jaguars through the end of their season.


He joined the Jaguars last January following a four-year stint as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the University of Georgia. During those four years, the Bulldogs posted a 42-10 record, won one Southeastern Conference title, two SEC East Division titles, won three consecutive bowl games and posted three straight finishes among the `Top 10' in the country.


During the 2004 season, the 10-2 Bulldogs were ranked seventh in the final national poll. His defense finished eighth in total defense and ninth in scoring defense.


VanGorder received the Frank Boyles `Assistant Coach of the Year' award in 2003, honoring the nation's top assistant coach - an award he received after finishing as a finalist the year prior.


"We are extremely fortunate to be able to hire Brian as our head football coach. It's a testimony to our football program, being able to attract a candidate of Brian's stature," said Baker.


In 2003, VanGorder's defense ranked third nationally in scoring defense, fourth in total defense and sixth in passing defense. The previous season, Georgia not only led the SEC in scoring defense but finished fourth nationally. UGA allowed only 31 points during the final seven games of that 2002 season, eventually winning the Sugar Bowl and finishing third in the final national poll. During his first year as defensive coordinator, the Bulldogs were 17th in scoring defense allowing 18.9 points per game and 15th in rushing defense.


He was the seventh recipient of the Valvoline Southern Sports Tonight `Assistant Coach of the Year' in 2002. Six of VanGorder's players were drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL draft including: defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan, safety Thomas Davis and defensive end David Pollack in the first round, safety Sean Jones and linebackers Boss Bailey and Odell Thurman in the second round.


"I want to thank (Athletic Director) Sam Baker and (GSU President) Dr. Bruce Grube for giving our family this opportunity. This is something that we have talked and dreamed about," said VanGorder. "We had a particular picture in our head of what a head coach looks like and the type of program that he wants to run. That picture is very clear in my mind... I look forward to this new era where we can add to the traditions."


According to Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio, "Brian VanGorder is a good football coach. He brings great energy and enthusiasm every day and gets his players to play hard for him. I wish him great success there at Georgia Southern."


Prior to Georgia, VanGorder was the defensive coordinator during the 2000 season at Western Illinois University. He coached linebacker Edgerton Hartwell, the Buck Buchanan Award winner as top defensive player in NCAA I-AA. The Leathernecks ended the year 9-2, finishing eighth nationally in passing efficiency defense and 12th in both passing defense and total defense while allowing just 17.6 points per game.


This will be the second head coaching stint for VanGorder, previously serving as head coach at his alma mater Wayne State University from 1992-94. During his final two years as head coach, Wayne State recorded its first winning record in more than a decade going 6-5 each season.


From there he spent two years as linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at the University of Central Florida then one year there as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. From 1998-99 he served as the defensive coordinator at Central Michigan University.


VanGorder started his coaching career in 1981 as an assistant coach at West Bloomfield (Michigan) High School. He served as the head coach at three high schools in the state of Florida, posting a record of 52-16. He was named `Coach of the Year' seven different times. His 1987 American Heritage High School team was ranked No. 1 in the state of Florida.


A native of Jackson, Michigan, VanGorder and his wife, Pollie, have five children: Molloy, Morgan, Mack, and Montgomery and Malone.


Birthdate: April 17, 1959
Birthplace: Jackson, Michigan
High School: West Bloomfield
College: Graduate of Wayne State University


December 2005: Head Coach, Georgia Southern University
January-December 2005: Linebackers Coach, Jacksonville Jaguars (National Football League)
2001-2004: Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach, University of Georgia
2000: Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach, Western Illinois University
1998-99: Defensive Coordinator, Central Michigan University
1997: Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, University of Central Florida
1995-96: Linebackers Coach/Special Teams Coordinator, University of Central Florida
1992-94: Head Coach, Wayne State University
1989-91: Grand Valley State University (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
1988: Boca Raton Community High School - Boca Raton, Florida (Head Coach)
1984-1987: American Heritage School - Plantation, Florida (Head Coach)
1982-83: Boca Raton Academy - Boca Raton, Florida (Head Coach)
1981: West Bloomfield High School -West Bloomfield, Michigan (Assistant Coach)



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