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January 13, 2014

Irish announce VanGorder

Brian Kelly made the decision to hire Brian VanGorder before leaving Yankee Stadium after Notre Dame closed the season with a victory in the Pinstripe Bowl.

It then took the University more than two weeks to announce a decision first reported before the Irish football program could return to South Bend from New York City, with Notre Dame putting out a press release Monday afternoon that VanGorder was the program's new defensive coordinator, replacing Bob Diaco, who was hired as Connecticut's head coach on Dec. 12.

Kelly and VanGorder will meet with the media on Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex.

In joining Kelly's program, VanGorder will take his fourth job in four seasons, following stops with the New York Jets (linebackers coach) last season, Auburn (defensive coordinator) in 2012 and Atlanta Falcons (defensive coordinator) immediately before that.

VanGorder also served as the Georgia defensive coordinator from 2001-2004, in addition to a one-year stop with the Jacksonville Jaguars and one-year stop as head coach at Georgia Southern.

While VanGorder built his coaching brand in the South, his Midwest roots provide the connection to Kelly. The two were assistants together at Grand Valley State from 1989-90, with VanGorder then serving as Kelly's first defensive coordinator after he took over as head coach in 1991.

A year later VanGorder took on the head coaching position at his alma mater, Wayne State, where he spent three seasons.

While Notre Dame's hiring process proved protracted, it puts VanGorder on staff three days before the NCAA's recruiting dead period lifts. That means on Jan. 16 when the contact period opens that VanGorder should be able to visit prospects as Notre Dame searches for help along the defensive line.

It's unclear what recruiting territories VanGorder will take for Notre Dame, although his Florida connections could prove valuable even with Tony Alford rooted in the state. Before he got into college coaching, VanGorder worked at several Florida high schools, including American Heritage. That's the same program that produced freshman linebacker Michael Deeb and receiver prospects Isaiah McKenzie.

VanGorder also served as an assistant at Central Florida from 1995-97.







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