Florida announces multiple assistant hires

Before Monday, the Gators had only officially announced the two hires under Jim McElwain.

Defensive coordinator Geoff Collins officially joined the Florida staff on December 16 while offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier was officially added on December 24.

Multiple other hires have been reported in recent weeks, and the school made them official on Monday. The Gators announced every assistant hiring except for the wide receivers coach.

Tim Skipper will coach running backs, Greg Nord will coach tight ends and special teams, Mike Summers will coach the offensive line, Terrell Williams will coach the defensive line, Randy Shannon will coach linebackers, Kirk Callahan will coach the secondary and Mike Kent will serve as director of strength and conditioning. Shannon will also have titles of co-coordinator and linebackers coach. Summers is the only assistant coach to be retained from Will Muschamp’s staff.

"As we were putting this staff together, we wanted to make sure that all the parts fit for us to be successful," Jim McElwain said about his staff. "This group has the knowledge, understanding and experience recruiting and coaching in the South, the state of Florida and the Southeastern Conference. They are like thinkers and don't have self-serving agendas.

"They will all help our players be successful on the field, as students and in life and are excited about the opportunity to join The Gator Nation. This is the first step in putting together an infrastructure that will put the Gators back where we belong."

Tim Skipper will come with McElwain to Gainesville as the running backs coach despite spending 10 of his 13 coaching years on the defensive side of the ball. He spent three years (2006-08) at Fresno State as the running backs coach where he turned Ryan Mathews into an All-American and the 12th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

In his three years with Fresno State, Skipper coach five backs that went to the NFL -- Lonyae Miller (Dallas Cowboys free agent signee, 2010), Dwayne Wright (fourth round pick to Buffalo, 2007), Clifton Smith (Tampa Bay Buccaneers free agent signee, 2008) and fullback Roshon Vercher (Arizona Cardinals free agent signee, 2008). As a returner, Smith made the 2008 Pro Bowl and was voted second-team All-Pro.

Skipper’s father, Jim, is the running backs coach for the Carolina Panthers and is in his 41st year of coaching. Skipper’s brother, Kelly, started his coaching career in 1989 and is currently the running backs coach for the Oakland Raiders.

Summers will stay in Gainesville and continue to serve as the offensive line coach under Jim McElwain.

With 35 years of coaching experience, Summers completed his first year at Florida in 2014. The offense continued to struggle, but in 2014, it wasn’t because of the offensive line. The unit struggled from 2011-13 under Tom Verducci and Tim Davis, but Summers came in and improved the unit’s play without many newcomers getting time on the field.

The Florida offense line helped the Gators improve from the 88th best rushing offense in 2013 to the 43rd best rushing offense in 2014. The Gators also allowed 27 sacks in 2013, and that number fell to 14 sacks allowed in 2014 under Summers.

Summers was the run game coordinator and offensive line coach at USC in 2013 before Lane Kiffin and his staff were fired. He served in the same role at Kentucky from 2010-12. Summers also has stops as the offensive line coach at Arkansas (2008-09), the Atlanta Falcons (2007), Louisville (2003-06) and Ohio (2001-02).

For as well as Summers got his group to play in 2014, he’s facing an even bigger challenge in 2015. The Gators graduate center Max Garcia, guard Trenton Brown and right tackle Chaz Green. Garcia and Green started all 2014 while Brown was part of a three-man rotation at guard. Florida will lose two more linemen that will leave early for the NFL -- left tackle D.J. Humphries and guard Tyler Moore.

Nord, who was the running backs coach at Western Kentucky last season, served as the tight ends and special teams coach from 2011-12 at Kentucky and coached tight ends at Illinois in 2010. Before that, he worked at Louisville from 1998-2009, coaching tight ends and running backs at different times. He spent time working with McElwain at Louisville from 2000-02. Nord also has experienced at Georgia Tech and East Carolina.

Williams has been the Raiders’ defensive line coach since 2012. Before that, he spent 2010-11 as the defensive line coach at Texas A&M. The Aggies led the nation with 51 sacks in 2011 and finished third nationally in tackles for loss with an average of eight per game. In 2010, Texas A&M was 12th nationally by allowing just 101.9 rushing yards per game. The Aggies improved from 90th to 30th in rushing defense during his first season as the position coach.

Before Texas A&M, the Los Angeles native served as the defensive line coach for Purdue from 2006-09. That’s where he coached first round pick and current Dallas Cowboys lineman Anthony Spencer, who led the country in tackles for a loss and a first-team All-American honor. He also coached Cliff Avril to becoming a third round pick and Ryan Kerrigan, who was the first round pick of the Washington Redskins in 2011.

Shannon has spent the last two seasons coaching linebackers on Bret Bielema’s staff at Arkansas. In 2011, Shannon served as the linebackers coach at TCU. He took the 2010 season off after being fired as the head coach at Miami the previous year.

Most of the Florida fan base’s familiarity with Shannon comes from his time leading the program in Coral Gables. He served as the head coach at Miami from 2007-10. Shannon, who played at Miami in college from 1985-88, was the defensive coordinator for the Hurricanes from 2001-06, adding linebacker coaching responsibilities to his coordinator duties in 2006.

His coaching career got started as a graduate assistant at Miami in 1991, and he was promoted to defensive line coach for the 1992 season. In 1993, he moved to coaching linebackers for the Hurricanes and stayed there through the 1997 season.

That’s when Shannon made his trek to the NFL. He stayed in the same area while joining the Miami Dolphins defensive staff from 1998-99. He coached linebackers in 2000 for one year but was brought back to the Hurricanes as the defensive coordinator to start the 2001 season.

As a defensive coordinator, Shannon’s defenses produced seven All-Americans, and he has coached eight other All-Americans as a position coach. As a head coach and defensive coordinator, Shannon has coached 14 defensive players that were taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. He has coached multiple NFL linebackers, most notably 13-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ray Lewis.

In five of Shannon’s six seasons as a defensive coordinator at Miami, the unit was a top 10 defense in the country. He was the first Miami coach to win the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant, when he earned it during the Hurricanes’ national championship season in 2001. Miami had 25 defensive players taken in NFL Drafts from 2002-07 with Shannon as the defensive coordinator, including 12 first-round picks.

After playing in eight games for UCF from 2003-06, Callahan split four years as a graduate assistant at North Carolina and Florida. He served as a graduate assistant in Urban Meyer’s final year at Florida and stayed on staff when Will Muschamp took over in 2011.

Callahan left Gainesville to accept a job as defensive backs coach at UCF prior to the 2012 season. This season, Callahan coached UCF’s first defensive Associated Press All-American at the FBS level when cornerback Jacoby Glenn received the honor in 2014. Glenn recorded seven interceptions and had 11 breakups this year and was also voted the American Athletic Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year.

FootballScoop named Callahan a finalist for its Defensive Backs Coach of the Year Award.

In 2013, UCF ended its season with a win over Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The Knights held 10 of their 13 opponents under their scoring averages during the season.

In Callahan’s first year as the defensive backs coach in 2012, safety Kemal Ishmael was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and cornerback A.J. Bouye was named second team All-C-USA. Bouye and Ishmael each had three interceptions on the year. Bouye was the third player in UCF history to have a fumble and interception return for a touchdown in the same year. His 111 interception return yards ranked fifth in single-season history.

Bouye went undrafted by plays for the Houston Texas, and Ishmael, a seventh-round pick, is currently with the Atlanta Falcons.

Callahan also has ties to important areas the Gators recruit. He is tied into the Orlando area by coaching at UCF and his father, Sean Callahan, is the head coach for instate power Armwood High School.

Kent has been a strength and conditioning instructor for 31 years. Before McElwain hired him at Colorado State in 2012, he was the head of the strength and conditioning program at Appalachian State from 2009-11 and previously served in that role from 1990-99.

Kent has trained NFL players such as cornerback Darrelle Revis, Jordy Nelson, Jeff Blake, Josh Freeman, Deion Branch, Jeff Otah and Clint Session during their college careers. He has conditioned nearly 40 future NFL athletes throughout his career.

McElwain will also retain director of player personnel Drew Hughes, who deals mostly with recruiting.


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