With Brian VanGorder hire, Irish show SEC influence

With Brian VanGorder hire, Irish show SEC influence
January 14, 2014, 3:15 pm
Vinnie Duber

The SEC's string of national championships might have ended with Florida State's win in the BCS title game earlier this month, but college football coaches are still acknowledging the conference's dominance.

Brian Kelly is the latest to do so, during the press conference introducing new Fighting Irish defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder on Tuesday afternoon.

Check out this quote from Kelly:

"At Notre Dame, we're playing for championships. And so the defensive coordinator had to have that experience. Brian has that national experience," Kelly said. "He has that resume, has that experience as a defensive coordinator in the SEC, and he's also sharpened the iron in the NFL, as well."

[MORE: Brian VanGorder ready to make his mark on Notre Dame defense]

Though it might be an exercise in reading between the lines, it sounded like Kelly was equating the SEC with championship-level football, which certainly has been the case over the past decade, pointing to that conference as something to strive for at ND. Notre Dame is one of several Midwestern schools to pluck from the sport's most-dominant league to bolster their chances at reaching that championship level. Penn State recently named former Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin the new leader of its program. Michigan hired Doug Nussmeier away from Alabama to serve as the Wolverines' new offensive coordinator. Ohio State is bringing aboard Chris Ash, who served as Arkansas' defensive coordinator this past season.

VanGorder, who prior to serving in his most recent job as the New York Jets' linebackers coach, was the defensive coordinator at both Auburn and Georgia.

Extracting coaches from the SEC? Notre Dame seems to be part of the trend.