Dec. 19, 2007
University of South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier has named Brian VanGorder as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, it was announced today. VanGorder will officially join the Gamecock staff in January following the completion of the Atlanta Falcons’ season.
VanGorder, 48, comes to Carolina after serving as the Falcons’ linebackers coach in 2007. No stranger to the Southeastern Conference, VanGorder served as a very successful defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the University of Georgia from 2001-04. During his Georgia tenure, six of his players were selected in the first two rounds of the NFL draft.
“I’m really pleased to hire a proven defensive coordinator that has an outstanding record working in the SEC,” said Coach Spurrier. “Brian will personally coach the linebackers, but will actually coach all of the defensive players as we strive to improve our Gamecock defense. He’s a good person, an outstanding family man and brings super qualifications and experience to this very important role in Carolina Football.”
VanGorder brings more than 25 years of coaching experience to Columbia. During his four-year stint in Athens, Georgia posted a 42-10 record, won one SEC championship, two SEC East Division titles, three consecutive bowl games and posted three straight top-10 national finishes.
During his final season at Georgia in 2004, the 10-2 Bulldogs were ranked seventh in the final national poll as VanGorder’s defense finished the season ranked in the top 10 in scoring defense.
In 2003, VanGorder’s defense ranked third nationally in scoring defense, fourth in total defense and sixth in passing defense. In turn, VanGorder received the Frank Broyles “Assistant Coach of the Year” award.
The 2002 season saw VanGorder’s defense not only lead the SEC in scoring defense, but finish fourth nationally. The Bulldogs allowed only 31 points during the final seven games of the season on their way to winning the Sugar Bowl and finishing third in the final national poll.
In his first year as defensive coordinator (2001), the Bulldogs ranked fifth in the nation in rushing defense and 17th in scoring defense, allowing just 18.9 points per game. He was named the recipient of the Valvoline Southern Sports Tonight “Assistant Coach of the Year.”
“I’m very excited to join the Gamecock staff and work with Coach Spurrier,” said VanGorder. “I look forward to this opportunity to learn and be a big part of helping South Carolina get better. I believe there is tremendous potential at South Carolina. I’m obviously familiar with the SEC, which is the best college league in America and where you compete against the best each week. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Following his four-year tenure at Georgia, VanGorder coached linebackers for the Jacksonville Jaguars for one season in 2005, helping the Jaguars rank sixth in the NFL in total defense.
VanGorder was the Head Coach at Georgia Southern University in 2006. In his lone season as the head coach, the Eagles placed five players on the All-Southern Conference team.
VanGorder started his coaching career in 1981 as an assistant coach at West Bloomfield (Mich.) High School. He served as the head coach at three high schools in the state of Florida, posting a record of 52-16 and was named “Coach of the Year” on seven different occasions.
His first collegiate head coaching opportunity came at his alma mater, Wayne State University, from 1992-94. During his final two seasons, Wayne State recorded its first winning record in more than a decade, going 6-5 in each season.
VanGorder logged a three-year stint at the University of Central Florida, where he spent two years coaching linebackers and special teams before being assigned to assistant head coach/defensive coordinator. He then spent two seasons (1998-99) as the defensive coordinator at Central Michigan. He was also the defensive coordinator at Western Illinois University during the 2000 campaign.
VanGorder was born April 17, 1959 in Jackson, Mich. He and his wife, Pollie, have five children: Molloy, Morgan, Mack, Montgomery and Malone.