ATHENS - Willie Martinez and Mark Richt built their relationship over card tables at the University…
Willie Martinez Promoted to Defensive Coordinator
"We certainly appreciate the outstanding contributions of both Brian and Ken and wish them the very best as they continue their professional careers," said Richt. "At the same time, I have complete confidence in Coach Martinez and the job he will do along with the rest of our defensive coaches in maintaining the system and reputation we have established for tough, aggressive defensive play."
VanGorder, a native of Jackson, Mich., was part of Richt's original staff in 2001 and helped build Georgia's defense into one of the country's top units. He was named the recipient of the Frank Broyles Award in 2003 as the nation's top assistant coach.
Martinez, a teammate of Richt's at the University of Miami, was also on Richt's original staff in 2001. He has coached the Georgia secondary the past four years. During his tenure in Athens, he's coached two first team All-America defensive backs: Sean Jones in 2003 and Thomas Davis in 2004. He's also had five Georgia players chosen in the NFL draft: Jones (second round, Cleveland) and Bruce Thornton (4th round, Dallas) in 2004; and Terreal Bierria (4th round, Seattle), Jermaine Phillips (5th round, Tampa Bay), and Tim Wansley (7th round, Tampa Bay) all in 2002. In addition, Davis is an expected high choice in the upcoming NFL draft.
A native of Coral Gables, Fla., Martinez had previous college coaching stops at Central Michigan (2000, Assistant Head Coach), Central Michigan (1998-99, Defensive Backs), Eastern Michigan (1997, Defensive Backs), Central Florida (1995-96, Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs), Central Michigan (1994, Defensive Backs), Grand Valley State (1992-93, Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs).
In 2000, his Central Michigan team led the nation in pass defense (147.9 ypg) and senior free safety Brian Leigeb led the Mid-American Conference in tackles and was third nationally with 13.36 per game.
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