A year removed from his first stint as defensive coordinator at Gulf Shores High School, Brian VanGorder is returning to Alabama to lead the Dolphins’ defense for head coach Mark …
A year removed from his first stint as defensive coordinator at Gulf Shores High School, Brian VanGorder is returning to Alabama to lead the Dolphins’ defense for head coach Mark Hudspeth.
The former defensive coordinator for teams like the Georgia Bulldogs, Auburn Tigers and Atlanta Falcons, VanGorder was most recently the head football coach at American Heritage-Delray in Florida before it was announced Friday he was returning to Gulf Shores.
The Dolphins’ defensive coordinator position was vacant after another former Power 5 coach, Paul Rhoads, made his return to the college ranks following a lone season on the high school circuit.
VanGorder retired from college coaching after two seasons as Bowling Green’s defensive coordinator then took over the defense when Hudspeth came to Gulf Shores in 2021. That campaign saw the Dolphins’ defense allow the fewest points in program history and the second-best point-per-game average at 17.6 over 10 games. It trails only the 2009 team that won the school’s first playoff game allowing only 16.6 points per game.
Gulf Shores is coming off its first home playoff game as part of the longest postseason run in school history to the state quarterfinals.
After he started his coaching career at the high school level in 1981, VanGorder went on to serve as a defensive coordinator at Grand Valley State, UCF, Central Michigan, Western Illinois, Georgia, Auburn, Notre Dame, Louisville and Bowling Green.
He was also the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons for three seasons (2008-2011) and was a linebackers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2005 and the New York Jets in 2013. As a collegiate head coach, VanGorder led the Wayne State Warriors (1992-1994) and Georgia Southern Eagles (2006) and owns a 19-25 overall record.
The Dolphins are scheduled to open spring practice for the 2023 season on April 17 before hosting a spring game May 12.