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Chizik tabs VanGorder as DC

AUBURN -- A veteran defensive coordinator with SEC and NFL experience will join Auburn’s staff.

Brian VanGorder, formerly the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, has been hired by Auburn coach Gene Chizik. VanGorder has a total of five years of NFL experience including the last four with the Falcons.

VanGorder will be formally introduced at a press conference Wednesday.

“I’m very excited to have a coach like Brian VanGorder join our staff at Auburn. From the beginning of this process, I had one person in mind, and that was Brian,” Chizik said. “He has achieved success at every level, both professionally and collegiately, which is a testament to his ability as a coach. He has been one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL, has won a Broyles Award at the college level, and understands what it takes to succeed in the Southeastern Conference. We’re pleased to welcome Brian and his family to Auburn.”

VanGorder, 52, was the defensive coordinator for Georgia from 2001-04. His Bulldog defense was ranked fourth in scoring defense in 2002, third in 2003 and eighth in 2004. His 2003 defense allowed less than 15 points per game as Georgia won the Sugar Bowl and finished No. 3 in the AP poll. He was named the 2003 Broyles Award winner as the nation’s top assistant coach.

“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,” VanGorder said. “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.”

During VanGorder’s stint with the Falcons, the organization posted four-consecutive winning seasons, a franchise first, including playoff appearances in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Helping the Falcons to a 10-6 regular season record in 2011, VanGorder’s defense finished the regular season second in the NFL in red zone defense, sixth in rushing defense (97.0 ypg), and 12th in total defense (333.6 ypg).

In 2010, the Falcons defense finished 10th in the NFL in rushing defense allowing 105.9 yards per game, which ranked fifth in the NFC.

Prior to his arrival with the Falcons, VanGorder was as the head coach at Georgia Southern in 2006. VanGorder spent the 2005 season coaching the linebackers for the Jacksonville Jaguars under Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith. Jacksonville ranked sixth in the NFL in total defense that season with VanGorder’s help.

VanGorder also had coaching stints at Western Illinois (2000), Central Michigan (1998-99), the University of Central Florida (1995-1997), Wayne State (1992-1994) and Grand Valley State (1989-91).

VanGorder, 52, was born in Jackson, Michigan. He and his wife, Pollie, have five children: Molloy, Morgan, Mack, Montgomery and Malone.

VanGorder replaces Ted Roof, who left in December for the defensive coordinator position at UCF.

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