By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Eagles look to snatch Hatcher
Valdosta State coach close to becoming new head man of Southern
HATCHER 5 col bw
Chris Hatcher, seen here coaching the Valdosta State Blazers, has led the Division II program for seven seasons and won the 2004 National Championship. Early indications are that Hatcher is to become Georgia Southern’s next head football coach. - photo by Special to the Herald
    Valdosta State’s Chris Hatcher is likely to become Georgia Southern’s next head football coach, according to sources close to the situation.
    GSU officials reportedly interviewed Hatcher on Wednesday, one day after former coach Brian VanGorder bolted for an assistant position with the Atlanta Falcons.
    Eagle media relations director Pat Osterman, speaking on behalf of athletic director Sam Baker, said Wednesday night the school wouldn’t comment on the coaching search until a hiring press conference. No press conference had been scheduled as of Herald press time.
    Hatcher has accumulated impressive credentials in seven seasons with the Blazers, compiling a 76-12 overall record and a .842 winning percentage, third-best in the nation at any level. He led VSU to a Division II national title in 2004.
    Hatcher, a Macon native and the Blazers’ star quarterback from 1991-1994, didn’t return phone messages seeking comment Wednesday. He is also being eyed by Rice University where he reportedly interviewed for the Owls’ head job on Tuesday.    
    With National Signing Day less than three weeks away, Baker has expressed his desire to fill the vacancy quickly.
    Some Georgia Southern fans favored Hatcher during the Eagles’ last coaching search 14 months ago, but he was never interviewed. This time, Georgia Southern isn’t overlooking the successful leader, who would become the program’s sixth full-time head coach.
    Hatcher began his coaching career as a student assistant at Valdosta State in 1995 and later spent one season at Central Florida and three at Kentucky before returning to the Blazers to take the head job in 2000.
    It is unknown if the Eagles are courting Georgia Tech defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Giff Smith. A 1991 Georgia Southern grad and a former defensive end for the Eagles, Smith has extensive ties to GSU’s rich past, having helped the program to three of its six Division I-AA national championships, including two under late coaching legend Erk Russell.
    According to Smith’s assistant, he was on the road recruiting Wednesday and was unavailable for comment.
    Hugh Nall, a former Eagle assistant who is now the offensive line coach at Auburn, has ruled himself out as a potential candidate.
    “There is a rumor going around that I am interested in that job, and it is just not true,” Nall told “I am not going to coach at Georgia Southern. I am not going anywhere. I am very happy at Auburn.”

    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.