It didn’t take James Franklin long to fill two vacancies on his staff.
On Friday, the Vanderbilt football coach announced the hiring of George Barlow and Josh Gattis, filling holes that opened up last week after two of his assistants left for other jobs.
Barlow will coach the defensive backs and serve as the defensive recruiting coordinator. Gattis steps in to mentor the wide receivers and handle offensive recruiting coordinator duties.
“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.”
Barlow, 44, spent the last three years at New Mexico and was defensive coordinator in 2011. Last fall he also served as the interim head coach over the last eight games after head coach Mike Locksley was fired. The Lobos were just 1-11. Their only win came in their 10th game.
Prior to New Mexico, Barlow spent 10 seasons at James Madison, after stints at Oklahoma, Marshall and West Virginia State. In 2004, as a first-year defensive coordinator at JMU, Barlow helped lead the Dukes to the Division I-AA national championship.
He will be the third coach on Vanderbilt’s staff with defensive coordinator experience, joining current defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and linebackers coach Brent Pry, who held the title at Georgia Southern.
“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,” Franklin said.
Gattis, who turns 28 on Sunday, comes to Vanderbilt after one year at Western Michigan. In Kalamazoo, he guided standout Jordan White. The All-American wideout led the nation with 140 receptions and 1,911 receiving yards. His 17 touchdown catches ranked third in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Western Michigan also had two other receivers with more than 60 receptions.
Prior to Western Michigan, Gattis spent one year as a graduate assistant at North Carolina. There he worked closely with offensive coordinator John Shoop, a former Vanderbilt graduate assistant and the brother of Bob Shoop.
That was after a three-year NFL career as Gattis played for both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears. He was a standout at Wake Forest, earning all-ACC honors at safety in 2005 and 2006.
“Josh is considered one of the brightest young coaches in the nation and did a remarkable job coaching the receivers at Western Michigan,” Franklin said.
The jobs came open when receivers coach Chris Beatty left for a job at Illinois and defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff departed for a post at Ole Miss.
Franklin also announced that Sam Williams will work in quality control with the defense. Williams spent last year as a volunteer assistant for the Commodores after three years as an offensive coach at his alma mater, Shepherd University in Division II.