FOOTBALL: Meyer announces position assignments

UF head coach Urban Meyer has assigned positions for each of the 2005 Florida Football Staff members as follows: Charlie Strong (Assistant Head Coach; Co-Defensive Coordinator; Linebackers); Greg Mattison (Co-Defensive Coordinator; Defensive Line); Chuck Heater (Recruiting Coordinator; Cornerbacks); Doc Holliday (Safeties); Dan Mullen (Offensive Coordinator; Quarterbacks); Billy Gonzales (Wide Receivers); John Hevesy (Offensive Line); Steve Addazio (Tight Ends); Stan Drayton (Running Backs).

Additionally, Coach Meyer has named the following to his staff: Mickey Marotti (Strength and Conditioning Director); Matt Balis (Strength and Conditioning Coordinator, Football); Frank Piraino (Strength and Conditioning Assistant); Ryan Day (Graduate Assistant, Offense); Art Link (Graduate Assistant, Defense); Bob LaCivita (Director of Football Operations); Jon Clark (Administrative Assistant, Football).

Here's a brief look at the members of the Florida coaching staff and support staff:

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).

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).

Holliday has been the Associate Head Coach and wide receivers coach at North Carolina State for the last five years after a 21-year career as an assistant at West Virginia. Holliday served as an assistant coach for some of the most prolific offensive teams in N.C. State history. The 2003 team set school records in almost every statistical category: pass attempts (496), pass completions (357), passing yards (4,580), passing yards per game (352.3), passing TDs (35) and pass completion percentage (.720). The 2003 team also topped school marks with 37.6 points per game, 453.2 total offense yards per game, 311 first downs and 6.6 yards per play. The Wolfpack offense set various school marks in each of his first three seasons. Most notably, the 2001 Wolfpack offense set school records for completion percentage (.644) and fewest turnovers (13). The 2002 squad finished first in school history in total yards (5,485), passing yards (3,468), points scored (460) and first downs (281). The 2002 N.C. State offense led the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring (32.9 ppg).

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 and a 2004 finalist for the Heisman Trophy. In leading the Utes to a perfect 12-0 season, Smith passed for 2,952 yards and 32 touchdowns, rushed for 631 yards and 10 touchdowns and threw just four interceptions in 317 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).

Gonzales spent the past two seasons coaching the wide receivers and special teams at Utah. The Utes' high-octane offense averaged 499.8 yards per game in '04, including 263.7 yards receiving per game, an average of 13.6 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.

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 236.1 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.

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.

Drayton, who comes to Gainesville after serving in the same capacity at Mississippi State during the 2004 season, has spent nine years working specifically with running backs on the collegiate level in addition to coaching three seasons in the NFL. Drayton went to MSU from the Green Bay Packers, where he spent the previous three seasons as the organization's offensive quality control and assistant special teams coach. While on staff with the Packers, he helped the team to three-straight National Football Conference Divisional Playoff appearances. Before coaching on the pro level, Drayton was the running backs coach for five months at Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. He earlier served as an assistant coach at Villanova from 1996-2000, after serving one year each at the University of Pennsylvania (1995), Eastern Michigan (1994) and Allegheny College (1993).

Marotti will be Florida's Director of Strength and Conditioning as he held the same post at Notre Dame from 1998-05, where he was responsible for total development of sport-specific strength and conditioning programs for all 26 Irish varsity sports. He has 17 years of collegiate experience including eight years at Cincinnati (1990-98) where he coordinated the strength and conditioning program for 20 sports and also worked in the areas of diet analysis and planning and assisted in student-athlete rehabilitation from injuries. Marotti is one of 36 people in the world to hold the Master of Strength and Conditioning (MSCC) certification.

Balis will serve as the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for Football. He has four years of collegiate experience and comes to UF after spending two seasons at Utah. Balis was promoted to Director of Strength and Conditioning for the Utes in February of 2004 after serving two years as an assistant. From 2001-2003, he was an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Houston.

Piraino joined Marotti at Notre Dame in May of 2004 where he assisted in the strength and conditioning efforts. Before arriving in South Bend, Ind., Piraino was a graduate assistant at Michigan State where he earned a Master's of Sports Administration degree. He received his undergraduate degree in Sports Exercise Science at the University of Akron, where he was also an assistant coach at Walsh Jesuit High School for three years.

Link is in his second season as a graduate assistant coach working with the defense. A two-year letterwinner at UF from 1997-98, Link contributed to the linebacker rotation and also saw action on special teams. A graduate of Jacksonville's The Bolles School, Link walked on to the 1996 national championship team.

Day is in his first season as a graduate assistant coach after serving in the same capacity at Boston College for the last two seasons. At Florida, Day will assist with the offense. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of New Hampshire and was captain of the school's football team in 2001. He was a three-year starter and holds four UNH passing records, including best passing percentage in a career (59.9, 1997-2001) and touchdown passes in a career (53).

LaCivita joins UF as Director of Football Operations after handling the same position at North Carolina State the past five seasons. He has worked with three other Division I-A football programs in the past 26 years, including Akron, Auburn and Pittsburgh. He graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1971 with a B.A. in Psychology. In 1977, he earned a Master's of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh and in 1984, he received his doctorate of philosophy in higher education from the University of Pittsburgh.

Clark, who will be Florida's Administrative Assistant for Football, comes to Gainesville after serving in the same role at the University of Utah since 2003. He first worked with Meyer at Bowling Green, where Clark was an undergraduate student manager prior to earning his B.S. in Secondary Education in May of 2002. After completing his education, Clark accepted a position as an administrative graduate assistant at BGSU.

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