Brian VanGorder is back in the saddle as the defensive coordinator at a major college football program.
After a couple of days of reports and speculation, Louisville announced Monday morning that coach Bobby Petrino has hired the former Georgia defensive coordinator to run his defense.
“I’ve known Brian for a long time and have an extremely high level of respect for everything he’s accomplished throughout his coaching career,” Petrino said via the university release on Monday. “With over 30 years of coaching experience, Brian has coordinated defenses in the National Football League, and at the highest level in college football. He’s an outstanding teacher, a great communicator, and has displayed the ability to develop players at every level.
“Brian is former winner of the Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in the country and has achieved success at every level, both professionally and collegiately, which is a testament to his ability as a football coach.”
Welcome new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder to the 'Ville. The 2003 Broyles Award winner has 18 years experience as a defensive coordinator at the professional and collegiate levels. #L1C4 pic.twitter.com/Sw3Bui86c9
— LouisvilleFootball (@UofLFootball) January 29, 2018
VanGorder served as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator under Mark Richt from 2001-04, and he returned to the program on the defensive staff under Kirby Smart during the 2016 season. He spent the 2017 season as a defensive analyst on the Oklahoma State coaching staff. VanGorder also has served in the defensive coordinator role for the Atlanta Falcons, Auburn and Notre Dame in previous stops.
He will replace Peter Sirmon, who was removed from his role on the Louisville defense staff after just one season. Sirmon arrived in Louisville after a failed stint as Dan Mullen’s defensive coordinator at Mississippi State in 2016. He since has been hired as the defensive coordinator at California.
VanGorder’s first assignment will be a tough one. The Cardinals open the 2018 season against Nick Saban’s Alabama squad.