Houston Nutt added a familiar face to his first Rebel staff in Chris Vaughn, who was announced on Dec. 12, 2007. He serves as safeties coach and recruiting coordinator.
Vaughn's time at Ole Miss is highlighted by a 2009 unit that was one of the toughest to pass against in the nation. With corners Marshay Green and Cassius Vaughn, Ole Miss ranked No. 11 in the NCAA in pass efficiency defense and No. 15 in pass defense.
Overall, the Rebels finished fourth in the SEC and 15th nationally in scoring defense (17.7 ppg) and fourth in the league and 21st nationally in total defense (314.7 ypg). After the season, both Green and Vaughn went on to sign NFL contracts with Arizona and Denver, respectively.
In his first season with Ole Miss, Vaughn helped coach a Rebel defense that intercepted 16 passes as compared to eight the previous season. The unit also improved from 11th in the league in scoring defense to fifth and from 12th in total defense to fifth.
As cornerbacks coach, he faced the immediate challenge during his first spring on campus of transforming Green, then a wide receiver, into a cornerback, where the Rebels were short on personnel. Green entered the starting lineup in game three of the 2008 season and started 22 games in the defensive backfield over his final two seasons.
Under Vaughn's watch, Green earned Defensive MVP honors in the 2009 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. The Ole Miss secondary limited Texas Tech All-American Michael Crabtree to just 30 receiving yards.
As recruiting coordinator, Vaughn helped assemble a 2009 signing class that was ranked 18th in the nation by Rivals.com, which also named Vaughn one of the top 25 recruiters in the country. The Rebels' 2010 class earned even higher praise, tabbed No. 15 by Scout.com, while the 2011 group dominated the state of Mississippi like none ever has, inking the top five recruits and eight of the "Dandy Dozen." The latest class also included a school-record four U.S. Army All-Americans.
Vaughn has participated in several programs held by the NCAA for aspiring head coaches, including the 2009 NCAA Minority Coaches Forum, the NCAA Football Coaches Academy and the NCAA Football Coaches Expert Academy. He also took part in the NFL's Minority Internship with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009 and with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2006.
Vaughn served on Nutt's Arkansas staff for nine seasons, including four as recruiting coordinator.
On the field, Vaughn's coaching responsibilities with the Razorbacks included the outside linebackers (2000-04), the outside linebackers and strong safeties (2001-03) and all safeties (2005, 2007). He spent the 2006 season as the director of on-campus recruiting.
Among his pupils at Arkansas were Tony Bua, a fifth round NFL Draft pick of the Miami Dolphins, Vickiel Vaughn, a seventh round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, and Matt Hewitt, who signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills.
In 2003, Vaughn helped guide a unit that helped Arkansas finish fifth in the Southeastern Conference in total defense and fourth in passing defense. The Razorbacks also ranked third in pass efficiency defense.
As outside linebackers coach, Vaughn was instrumental in developing Bua into an All-SEC performer. Bua earned All-SEC honors in 2001, 2002 and 2003, and ended his career as Arkansas' all-time leading tackler with 408 stops.
In 2001, Vaughn helped Arkansas' defense rank second in the SEC in the red zone by allowing teams to score 68.3 percent of the time, and third in the league and 30th nationally with a plus-five turnover margin. Vaughn also helped coach a 2000 defensive unit which led the SEC and was 12th nationally in total defense by allowing just 292.1 yards per game.
Vaughn began his Arkansas career as a graduate assistant on the 1999 squad, working with the defense. He helped direct a swarming defense that limited Texas to minus-27 yards rushing in a 27-6 Razorback victory in the 2000 Cotton Bowl.
Vaughn landed his first full-time coaching position less than a week after the Cotton Bowl win over Texas, joining former UA defensive coordinator Keith Burns at Tulsa as the Golden Hurricane's linebackers coach on Jan. 3, 2000. Vaughn's tenure at Tulsa, however, lasted less than six weeks. When a full-time slot opened on the Razorback staff, Nutt lured Vaughn back to Fayetteville on Feb. 17, 2000, in time to prepare for spring practice.
One of the first players with whom Nutt made an in-home visit after his hiring at Murray State in 1994, Vaughn went on to earn four letters as a linebacker at MSU. He played his first three seasons for the Racers under Nutt and was a member of Murray State teams that claimed back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference titles and made consecutive NCAA Division I-AA playoff appearances in 1995 and 1996.
Vaughn earned All-OVC honors as a senior in 1997, totaling 103 tackles, including six quarterback sacks and 10 stops for lost yardage. He earned his bachelor's degree in advertising with a minor in art from Murray State in 1998.
A native of Tallahassee, Fla., Vaughn was an all-state linebacker, state wrestling runner-up and 4A state weightlifting champion at Godby High School.
Born July 24, 1976, he is married to the former Marquette Foster and they are the parents of Christopher Matthew Vaughn II, Cienna Marquette and Camryn McNeil.
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