McElwain’s Coaching Staff Nearing Completion

One of the biggest problems Will Muschamp had at Florida was hiring competent assistant coaches. There were a few good hires, such as Dan Quinn at defensive coordinator and Travaris Robinson as the defensive backs coach, but overall, Muschamp did not do a very good job in this (and many other) department(s).

On the contrary, the staff that Jim McElwain has assembled appears to be a very good one. McElwain looked around the country, raided coaching staffs of other schools/NFL teams and simply imported the coaches he wanted while simultaneously clearing out the staff that Muschamp put together.

Here are his assistant coaches as of now:

Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks: Doug Nussmeier

Coach Nuss and McElwain worked together for three years before this. Nussmeier was previously the OC at Alabama, and then at Michigan. He replaces Kurt Roper.

Defensive Coordinator: Geoff Collins

McElwain rode west and robbed Mississippi State of a very good defensive coordinator and claimed him as his own. He didn’t even need a gun. Collins takes over for DJ Durkin.

Special Teams Coordinator/Tight ends: Greg Nord

Nord served as Bobby Petrino’s running backs coach at Louisville this past year. But overall, he’s been in the coaching business for over 30 years- some of it with McElwain under John L. Smith. He takes over the tight ends from Derek Lewis and the special teams from DJ Durkin.

Running backs: Tim Skipper

Skipper was McElwain’s running backs coach at Colorado State, and worked with star tailback Dee Hart. Skipper takes the reins from Brian White.

Offensive line: Mike Summers

Summers is the only assistant coach that McElwain is retaining from Muschamp’s staff.

Defensive line: Terrell Williams

McElwain elected to steal the Oakland Raiders’ defensive line coach for the same position. Williams previously worked at Texas A&M in 2010-11. He replaces Brad Lawing, one guy I was sure McElwain would retain but didn’t.

Linebackers: Randy Shannon

This may be the home run hire of the entire staff. Shannon was once the head coach at Miami, but that didn’t work, so he went down to coaching linebackers, most recently at Arkansas. That is, until McElwain poached him from Bret Bielema.

Secondary: Kirk Callahan

Callahan was once a grad assistant for Florida, and is widely considered to be one of the great recruiters in the state of Florida (along with Shannon). Together, the two can help rebuild the trust with South Florida high schools that Muschamp destroyed with the ill-advised neglect of Jacoby Brissett- after working so hard to get him to choose Florida over Miami. Callahan replaces the beloved T-Rob, AKA Travaris Robinson.

Strength and conditioning: Mike Kent

Kent was previously McElwain’s strength coach at Colorado State, but that’s not why Mac brought him along. Two years ago, Kent earned the distinctive title of “Master Strength and Conditioning Coach“, which pretty much means that you’re the best of the best in this capacity. The title was created in 2001; since then, only 145 strength coaches have received it. Kent takes over for Jeff Dillman.


This leaves one spot open: wide receivers. There were rumors circulating that Florida was going to hire George McDonald from Syracuse, but this morning, a source close to McDonald stated that there was no truth to it. So for now, let’s just assume that the position is still open.

Still, this is an impressive staff. Florida has not officially announced any hirings other than the two coordinators, Collins and Nussmeier, but that’s likely because they’d like to announce the entire staff together at once rather than one position coach at a time. We’ll keep you updated as the final pieces of the coaching staff puzzle come together.