The Florida Gators coaching staff has already undergone significant changes with more assistant hires expected to be named any day now, and as new head coach Jim McElwain looks to refresh the team’s entire infrastructure, a shift will also be coming to Florida’s strength and conditioning program.
As first reported by OnlyGators.com on Tuesday, the Gators’ current director of strength and conditioning, Jeff Dillman, will leave the program following the 2015 Birmingham Bowl on Saturday.
According to the Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson, McElwain has reached back to his Colorado State Rams staff for Dillman’s replacement, tabbing Mike Kent as Florida’s third strength and conditioning coach in the last five seasons.
A 34-year coaching veteran who spent three seasons on McElwain’s staff at Colorado State, Kent has replaced Dillman before, taking over the Appalachian State program in 2009 and remaining there until McElwain brought him over to CSU in 2012.
Florida would be Kent’s highest-profile job by far as his prior experience as a program leader include a second stint at Appalachian State (1990-98) and stops at Eastern Kentucky (1999), Louisville (2000-03), Pittsburgh (2004-06) and Kansas State (2007-09). McElwain was also at Louisville from 2000-02.
Kent started “Ram U” at Colorado State in 2012. The five-week spring system, modeled after Alabama’s “4th Quarter” program, tested the Rams’ physical and mental strength, pushing players to their limits.
“This is about more than football,” McElwain said in a statement on CSU’s website last February. “The lessons learned and the endurance required in the Ram U program will not only help them in playing the game of football, but will carry with them the rest of their lives, with their families and in their careers.”
Kent is just one of a number of reported hires that the Gators have yet to announce. Florida has also reportedly come to terms with Arkansas’ Randy Shannon as linebackers coach and Colorado State’s Tim Skipper as running backs coach.
McElwain has already announced his coordinator hires, tabbing Mississippi State’s Geoff Collins to lead the defense and Michigan’s Doug Nussmeier to help direct the offense. There is also a strong expectation that current Gators offensive line coach Mike Summers has been asked to remain with the program.