Notre Dame made official the hiring of defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, a move that’s been imminent for a few weeks. VanGorder joins the Irish after coaching linebackers for the New York Jets, and has coordinated elite defenses at both the professional and collegiate levels.
Before the Jets, VanGorder returned to college football for one season, coordinating the Auburn defense under Gene Chizik in 2012. He was reportedly the highest paid defensive coordinator in college football, matching Kirby Smart’s Alabama contract. VanGorder was also Mark Richt’s first Georgia defensive coordinator, putting together a string of elite defenses before pursuing jobs in the NFL.
At the professional level, VanGorder coordinated the Falcons defense under Mike Smith, putting together an attacking defense during the most successful string of seasons in Atlanta history. Known for a blitzing, multiple front defense, VanGorder anchored most of his units out of a four-man front, but spent the last year working with Rex Ryan, one of the top 3-4 coaches in football.
VanGorder’s connection with Brian Kelly go back 20 years to Grand Valley State, where he coached with Kelly and Mike Denbrock. He’s been a head coach at both Wayne State, his alma mater, and for one season at Georgia Southern.