"I'm very excited about the group of coaches that are joining our staff," Coach Meyer said. "They fit in with the vision I have for this program and are quality people. Since we can only have seven coaches on the road recruiting at one time, we are going to leave our options open for the final spot on our staff to give us some flexibility."
Addazio will coach the tight ends, Gonzales will coach the wide receivers, and Hevesy will be responsible for the offensive line. Mullen will coach the quarterbacks and Locksley will continue in his role as Florida's running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. The defensive duties have not been assigned.
Florida's staff already contains at least four assistants (Gonzales, Mattison, Heater and Locksley) who have been recruiting coordinators, as Heater was the recruiting coordinator at Colorado (1993, 1998), Washington (1999-03), and Utah (2004) and Mattison is a former recruiting coordinator at Notre Dame (2002-04). In addition, Gonzales was Bowling Green's co-recruiting coordinator in 2002 after leading the recruiting efforts at Kent State from 1999-2000. Locksley has been Florida's recruiting coordinator since joining the UF staff prior to the 2003 season.
Between Mattison (13), Strong (six) and Heater (two), the Gator coaching staff has 21 years of experience at the defensive coordinator position.
Here's a brief look at the eight members of the new Florida coaching staff:
A 29-year member of the coaching profession, Chuck Heater most recently served as the cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at Utah during the '04 season. He and Meyer have worked together at several Division I programs. In 1986, Meyer was a graduate assistant and Heater served as the secondary coach at Ohio State. They coached together again at Colorado State from 1991-92, where Meyer coached the Ram receivers and Heater was the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach. In addition to his stint at Utah, he previously coached at Washington (recruiting coordinator and running backs in 2002-03, cornerbacks and recruiting coordinator from 1999-2001), Colorado (recruiting coordinator and tight ends in 1988, tight ends from 1995-97, secondary in 1994, football operations and recruiting coordinator in 1993), Colorado State (defensive coordinator and inside linebackers in 1991-92), Notre Dame (secondary from 1988-90), Ohio State (secondary from 1985-87), Wisconsin (secondary from 1982-84), Toledo (secondary from 1979-81, running backs in 1977-78) and Northern Arizona (running backs in 1976).
Billy Gonzales has spent the past two seasons coaching the wide receivers and special teams at Utah. The Utes' high-octane offense averaged 502.7 yards per game in '04, including 257.8 yards receiving per game, an average of 14 yards per catch. During the 2001 and 2002 campaigns, he coached the receivers and served as co-recruiting coordinator at Bowling Green under Meyer. In two years with the Falcons, Gonzales assisted with one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. Bowling Green ranked third nationally in scoring offense (40.8 points per game) and was ninth in total offense (448.92 yards per game). He previously spent the 1995-2000 seasons at Kent State (wide receivers from 1998-2000, running backs in 1997, offensive graduate assistant in 1995-96). Gonzales lettered at Colorado State as a wide receiver from 1989-93, with Meyer serving as his position coach between 1990-93. He is one of only two Ram players to lead the team in punt returns three straight seasons.
John Hevesy was responsible for coaching Utah's offensive line in the 2004 season after coaching the tackles and tight ends in 2003. The Utes averaged 244.9 rushing yards per game and boasted four players who rushed for over 300 yards. Hevesy had joined the Ute coaching staff after serving as an assistant for Meyer at Bowling Green in 2001-02. He previously coached at Brown (offensive line from 1998-2000, offensive tackles and tight ends in 1996), Syracuse (graduate assistant in 1997) and Trinity (Conn.) College (offensive line in 1994-95). At the Ivy League school, he participated in some of the school's best offensive years, as the 1998 offensive line blocked for nine school records and ranked among the top-five teams nationally in offense. While at Syracuse, his efforts with the offensive line paved the way for a Big East title and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl.
Dan Mullen has worked with Utah's quarterbacks for the past two seasons and has played an integral role in development of Alex Smith, The Sporting News 2004 National Player of the Year, 2004 Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year who was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. In leading the Utes to a perfect 11-0 regular season, Smith passed for 2,624 yards and 28 touchdowns, rushed for 563 yards and 10 touchdowns and threw just four interceptions in 280 attempts. Mullen arrived in Salt Lake City after serving as the quarterbacks coach at Bowling Green in 2001-02 for Meyer. In two years at BGSU, his quarterbacks powered one of the nation's dynamic offenses by throwing for 5,145 yards and 48 touchdowns and rushing for 1,482 yards and 33 touchdowns. Mullen coached at Notre Dame as an offensive graduate assistant in 1999-2000, while Meyer was the Fighting Irish's receivers coach, and has spent time at Syracuse (graduate assistant in 1998), Columbia (wide receivers in 1996-97) and Wagner (N.Y.) (wide receivers in 1994-95).
Mike Locksley has been the Gators' running backs coach and recruiting coordinator during the 2003-04 campaigns. Florida's running game improved from 136.2 yards per game to 156.9 yards per game during his two years coaching the position group, while the team's average yard per carry also improved from 3.8 to 4.6 yards per carry, ranking second in the SEC in that category in '04. Junior Ciatrick Fason ranks first in the SEC and 18th nationally with 106.6 yards per game and is second in the league and 40th nationally in all-purpose yards with 127.2 per game. During Locksley's first season in 2003, the Gators rushed for 21 touchdowns, which tied for the ninth-highest total in school history. For just the second time in school history, UF finished the year with three running backs who gained at least 500 yards: Ran Carthon (595), Fason (583) and DeShawn Wynn (540).
Charlie Strong, the interim head football coach for Florida at the 2004 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, rejoined the Florida staff for the fourth time in his career in December of 2002 after accepting the defensive coordinator job. He has spent the past six seasons as a defensive coordinator (four at South Carolina and two at Florida) and has 22 years of experience as a collegiate coach under his belt. Strong's 2004 Gator defense has improved in eight statistical categories over the past two seasons: scoring defense, rushing yards per attempt, yards rushing per game, average yards per catch, average yards per completion, yards per play, yards per game and sacks per game.
Greg Mattison comes to Florida after serving as an assistant at Notre Dame since 1997. He worked with the Fighting Irish defensive line between 2002-04, was the team's defensive coordinator and the defensive line coach from 1998-2001 and was the squad's defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach during the 1997 season. The 2003 Irish defensive line produced 24 of the team's single season-record 39 quarterback sacks, including a school-record 13.5 sacks by defensive end Justin Tuck. As defensive coordinator for the Irish from 1997-2001, Mattison's defenses were annually ranked among the nation's toughest. His 2001 unit ranked 14th in the nation in total defense - including 10th in the country in pass defense and 22nd in scoring defense.
Before arriving at Notre Dame, Mattison was the defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan in 1995-96 and had been a member of the Wolverine staff since 1992 as the defensive line coach. He was one of five finalists for the initial Frank Broyles Award in 1996, recognizing the top assistant coach in college football. Mattison started his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at Illinois in 1976 under Bob Blackman. He also served as an assistant at Cornell (defensive line in 1977 under Blackman), Northwestern (defensive line in 1978-80 under Rick Venturi), Western Michigan (defensive coordinator from 1984-86 and linebackers from 1981-86 under Jack Harbaugh), Navy (defensive line in 1987-88 under Elliott Uzelac) and Texas A&M (1989-91 under R.C. Slocum).
Steve Addazio has 20 seasons of coaching experience, has been a part of five bowl games and has won three conference championships. The 2004 season was Addazio's first as offensive coordinator and third with the Hoosiers after serving as offensive line coach in 2002 and 2003. Addazio came to Bloomington after spending the previous three seasons with the University of Notre Dame. While at Notre Dame (1999-2001) he served as the offensive line, tight ends and special teams coach. Prior to his tenure at Notre Dame, Addazio served on the staff at Syracuse University for four seasons (1995-1998). Prior to Addazio's Division I collegiate coaching career, he served as one of the nation's top high school coaches at Cheshire High School in Cheshire, Conn. He placed over 20 student-athletes in Division I A, I AA, II, and III programs in his seven years.