Jan. 13, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - George Barlow, a veteran defensive coordinator who served much of last year as an interim head coach in the Mountain West Conference, and Josh Gattis, who mentored the nation's most productive receiver in 2011, have joined the Vanderbilt coaching staff, James Franklin announced today.
Barlow, defensive coordinator at the University of New Mexico last year and the Lobos' interim head coach for the final eight games of the 2011 campaign, will coach Vanderbilt defensive backs and serve as the defensive recruiting coordinator. Gattis, who helped guide Western Michigan to its fifth bowl game as a receivers coach last year, will mentor Commodore wide receivers and handle offensive recruiting coordinator duties.
Franklin, coming off an AutoZone Liberty Bowl appearance in his first year as the Vanderbilt head coach, praised Barlow and Gattis as the newest Commodore coaches.
"George and Josh are very intelligent guys who bring tremendous energy to our program," Franklin said. "They also share our vision of where we believe Vanderbilt football is headed in the future.
"George has a proven record as a defensive coach and handled a difficult transition last year with a lot of class in the role of interim head coach. Josh is considered one of the brightest young coaches in the nation and did a remarkable job coaching the receivers at Western Michigan," Franklin added.
Franklin also announced that Sam Williams will work in a quality control role with the Commodore defense.
Barlow began last year as UNM's assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Four games into the season, Lobo officials named Barlow as the team's interim head coach.
Barlow's 2011 Lobo defense was paced by middle linebacker Carmen Messina. The senior earned first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors after topping the league in tackles for a third straight year. He also broke the conference career record with 454 tackles, including a career-high 21 stops in the 2011 finale at Boise State.
Before going to New Mexico, Barlow enjoyed tremendous success during a 10-year stint at James Madison. In 2004, he helped the Dukes to the 2004 I-AA national championship as a first-year defensive coordinator. The Dukes also advanced to the national playoffs from 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Barlow's JMU defense ranked among the nation's best. In 2006, the Dukes were second in FCS in sacks and fourth in rush defense. In 2005, the unit ranked first nationally in rush defense. In JMU's championship season of 2004, the Dukes set a FCS record for sacks and ranked second in the nation in rush defense.
Barlow has also worked at the University of Oklahoma, Marshall University and West Virginia State.
Gattis served one year as receivers coach at Western Michigan, helping the 7-6 Broncos to an appearance in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
Gattis' top pupil at Western Michigan, wide receiver Jordan White, rewrote team and Mid-American Conference (MAC) records en route to consensus All-America honors. As a senior in 2011, White topped the nation with 140 receptions and 1,911 receiving yards. His 17 touchdown catches was the third most in the NCAA.
White owns virtually every Western Michigan receiving record, finishing his career with 306 catches and 4,187 receiving yards.In his final game, White setting a Little Caesars Pizza Bowl record with 265 receiving yards. He earned All-America recognition from the Associated Press, Walter Camp Football Foundation, American Football Coaches Association, Yahoo! Sports and Sports Illustrated.
Two other Western Michigan wide receivers, seniors Chleb Ravenell and Robert Arnheim, also produced career campaigns under Gattis' guidance. Ravenell had 67 receptions and nine touchdown catches. Arnheim finished the year with 62 receptions.
Gattis joined Western Michigan after serving as a graduate assistant in 2010 at the University of North Carolina. Former Tar Heel offensive coordinator John Shoop, brother of current Vanderbilt defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, was one of the coaches Gattis assisted in Chapel Hill.
Gattis was a standout at Wake Forest, earning All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors as a Demon Deacon safety in 2005 and 2006. Gattis finished his career with 32 starts, 253 total tackles, six forced fumbles and 12 interceptions. A participant in the 2007 Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game, Gattis spent time with the Jacksonville and Chicago organizations after getting drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
Williams spent three years as an offensive coach at his alma mater, Shepard (W.Va.) University.