Blog Entry

Auburn hires Falcons' Brian VanGorder as DC

Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:57 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 3:30 pm

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Gene Chizik has ended his search for a defensive coordinator to replace Ted Roof, and the name is one that's already plenty familiar -- and plenty welcome -- to Auburn fans.

Per the Atlanta Falcons' official twitter feed, team defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder has informed Falcons' head coach Mike Smith that he has accepted an offer from Chizik and the Tigers to take over the same position at Auburn. VanGorder will replace Roof, who left under pressure for the coordinator's chair at UCF after three up-and-down seasons on the Plains.

"I personally want to thank Brian for all the hard work he put in for our football team and Atlanta," Smith said

VanGorder and Auburn released a statement confirming the move:

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me and my family at this point in my career, both professionally and personally, to become the defensive coordinator at Auburn. I’m looking forward to working at a school with the success and tradition of Auburn, and for a coach like Gene Chizik, who has led the program to a national championship. I’m very appreciative to the Atlanta Falcons and Coach Mike Smith for the experience of the last four years. It’s a great organization and will have continued success in the future.” 

"From the beginning of this process, I had one person in mind, and that was Brian," Chizik said in the statement. "He has achieved success at every level, both professionally and collegiately, which is a testament to his ability as a coach."

Though VanGorder has an extensive resume -- with assistants' stints for the Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars, and one season as the head coach at Georgia Southern -- VanGorder is best-known to SEC fans for his four-year defensive coordinating tenure under Mark Richt, one that produced some of the finest defenses at Georgia during the Richt era. He was awarded the 2003 Broyles Award after coaching the Bulldogs to a fourth-place finish in total defense. After finishing 49th his first year in Athens, the Bulldogs would improve to 15th in 2002 (winning the SEC and the Sugar Bowl) and rank in the top 10 the next two seasons.

Though VanGorder enjoyed less success with the Falcons -- averaging a bottom-half 18th-place finish in total defense his four years as the team's coordinator -- Atlanta did improve all four years of his time in Flowery Branch, slowly moving from 24th to 12th.

In any case, VanGorder's Georgia tenure alone ensures that he'll be greeted warmly by Auburn fans frustrated -- even during their 2010 national title run -- by Roof's defense's struggles against the pass and general inconsistency. Those struggles hit a low point in 2011 as the Tigers set a school record for most points allowed in a season and ranked 11th i nthe SEC (in front of only hapless Ole Miss) in total defense.

VanGorder will have his work cut out for him in restoring the Tigers to the defensive heights scaled during the Tommy Tuberville era. But it's hard to see who Chizik might have hired that would have any better shot at accomplishing it than VanGorder. Chizik still has to hire an offensive coordinator as well, but this first step in his coaching staff reshuffling has been a hugely positive one. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.


Since: Jun 24, 2010
Posted on: January 10, 2012 11:42 am

Auburn hires Falcons' Brian VanGorder as DC

AuTigers77, this is a great get. BVG can coach AND recruit in the SEC which is what Awbun needs right NOW. He did well for UGA and will be another great rival with UGA ties.

Since: Nov 30, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:35 am

Auburn hires Falcons' Brian VanGorder as DC

As a fan of both the Atlanta Falcons and the Alabama Crimson Tide, I would say this falls in the category of killing two birds with one stone.   Tongue out

Since: Nov 9, 2010
Posted on: January 10, 2012 7:44 am

Auburn hires Falcons' Brian VanGorder as DC

Great hire for Auburn!!  Time to get back to playing D like Auburn use to.

Falcons, You better worry about being able to get a 4th and one against one of the worst D's in the league.  And trading five picks for Julio might not have been such a good idea.  Has he ever finished a season where he was not hurt?  

Since: Sep 3, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 9:09 pm

Auburn hires Falcons' Brian VanGorder as DC

hey falcons your defense out scored you offense


Since: Jul 23, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2012 7:57 pm

Auburn hires Falcons' Brian VanGorder as DC

This is a grandslam hire for Auburn.This guy can coach and recruit and forget what the article says VanGorden can turn the defense back to Auburn standards fairley quick.He will have a squad loaded with blue chip 4-5 star guys and most everyone of those guys will be FR.,SO. and a few juniors who want to improve,plus the freshman coming in 2012.
Like this hire there are rumors that Chiz has an ace O.C. in the bag who will be announced wednesday,this is a guy nobody thought would leave where he is at for Auburn.

Since: Aug 10, 2007
Posted on: January 9, 2012 3:44 pm

Auburn hires Falcons' Brian VanGorder as DC

While this hire doesn't excite me it seems like a good fit. He's already produced top 10 defenses against SEC competition and he seems to be a better fit in the college game. Also if I remember correctly he was a pretty good recruiter when he was at UGA. With all that said ANYONE is an improvement on Ted Roof. By far the worst hire at Auburn since Tuberville hired Tony Franklin.

Since: May 30, 2008
Posted on: January 9, 2012 3:32 pm

Auburn hires Falcons' Brian VanGorder as DC

I just read the ENTIRE article and Auburn does need an O.C. so let's pack both Murlarkey and VanGorder's bags and they can ride together to Auburn, AL.

Since: Feb 4, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 3:28 pm

Brian VanGorder sucks

Hooray for the Falcons!

Above average players at every position - and a below average defense.  Good luck with that

Since: May 30, 2008
Posted on: January 9, 2012 3:28 pm

Auburn hires Falcons' Brian VanGorder as DC

Does Auburn need an offensive coordinator also because we can send Mike Murlarkey down I-85 also. Come on War Eagle, lol!

Since: Jul 26, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 3:10 pm

Auburn hires Falcons' VanGorder as DC

Win, Win for both sides. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or