And there’s no hint of when it could be filled.
Speaking to the media in Gainesville for the first time since his introductory press conference, Jim McElwain said on Wednesday that he continues to evaluate and hasn’t pulled the trigger on hiring an assistant to coach Florida’s receivers.
“I don't know that I had a timetable for anybody, nor do I have a timetable for anybody within the infrastructure within the organization in general,” McElwain said. “The key is to get the best guy -- the guy that is going to affect these young men’s lives. Allow them to perfect their craft.
“I do know this, I think you guys will be happy with him."
The recruiting dead period goes through January 14, and the Gators have a chance to host prospects on official visits on the weekend of January 16-18. However, McElwain said on Wednesday that the wide receivers coach doesn’t have to be hired by that point in time.
It would be nice for recruiting purposes if that did happen, but it’s not imperative.
“I coached the position for a long time and had some pretty good players,” McElwain said. “So has Nuss, and we've had a lot of luck with it. Obviously it helps from a manpower standpoint because we'll be on the road. So you guys are asking for timelines, and I'm going to tell you we're going to do the best thing that's best for the University of Florida and the Gators. It'll happen."
The biggest reason for the delay is finding the right fit. The wide receiver coach has been a revolving door for the Gators, as McElwain’s hire will give Florida its seventh different receivers coach in seven years.
Billy Gonzales served as the receivers coach at Florida from 2005-09, the last person to coach the position for consecutive seasons. Since then, Zach Azzanni (2010), Aubrey Hill (2011), Bush Hamdan (2012), Joker Phillips (2013) and Chris Leak (2014) have all coached the position. NCAA issues forced Hamdan and Leak into the job before they were ready for it, but the lack of continuity makes McElwain want to find the perfect fit to coach the position in his first year.
“That is part of the reason I’m being probably so patient, in the positions to make sure we get that right ingredient, that right person, to give these guys some normality in their lives,” McElwain said. “I’ve been around some great ones and have known, I know what it takes to handle that room, for lack of a better term. That’s why I’m kind of being -- I’m sitting back.”
When asked directly if he’s waiting on a wide receivers coach whose season is still going on in college football or the NFL, McElwain didn’t give a straight answer.
“I’m waiting for me to make a decision, how’s that?” he said with a grin. “We’ve got a ton of interest, OK, as in every position. There’s a lot of components that go into that. Am I just going to throw a dart at that board over there? No. Do I have a firm short list? Yeah. Am I ready to pull the trigger and the plug right now and go at it? No. We’ll make it right.”
McElwain did say that Leak is not on the staff “right now,” adding “who knows as we move forward in what capacity or any capacity because there's a lot to be done before we move forward on that."