VALDOSTA, Ga — Valdosta State football coach Gary Goff announced Sunday that he has taken the head coaching job at Division I and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) member McNeese State in Lake Charles, La.
Goff guided the Blazers to the program's sixth NCAA National Championship appearance on Saturday and back-to-back Gulf South Conference titles in his two playing seasons as head coach in Titletown (three overall seasons). The 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Goff finished his VSU career with a 22-3 record as he was hired at VSU on Jan. 25, 2019. He also coached eight seasons at Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio, and is 60-53 in ten playing seasons of coaching.
"I wish Gary the very best in his new endeavor," VSU Director of Athletics Herb Reinhard said. He has done a wonderful job as our head coach and I'm confident he will be successful in building the McNeese State program. If we did not have the premier program we have and the sustained success, schools with greater resources would not constantly be looking at VSU for their next head coach. We have to take that as a compliment. We will start a search for a new head coach immediately."
With the national championship appearance in 2021, VSU became the first program in NCAA Division II to have four different head coaches reach the title game. Former Blazer and current Samford head coach Chris Hatcher went 1-1 in national title games earning the program's first in football in 2004. Former Blazer head coach David Dean won in 2007 and 2012, while Kerwin Bell helmed the Blazers for the title in 2018.
The Blazers finished the 2021 season with a 12-2 record overall, falling in the NCAA Division II National Title Saturday evening. VSU went 6-1 in the Gulf South Conference, sharing the league title with West Florida. The national title appearance this season marked the sixth appearance in the title game since 2002 (4-2). Goff was named GSC Coach of the Year for the second time in 2021, as he was Co-GSC Coach of the Year in 2019.
"It is very difficult to put into words what Valdosta State has meant to me and my family," Goff said. "Our love and passion for this amazing university, the administration and the community are unmatched. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to impact so many lives while at VSU, but the truth is that so many incredible people have impacted my life. This team will continue to do great things on and off the field. I am so proud of what these young men have accomplished. They will forever be winners and forever be my Blazers! My family and I are excited about the next chapter in our lives, but we always will be Blazers in our hearts! Once a Blazer, always a Blazer!"