Stan Drayton returns as running backs coach

By Adam Silverstein
January 5, 2010

Former Florida Gators running backs coach Stan Drayton has been rehired to his former job according to three sources close to the team. Drayton, who spent last season in the same position with the Syracuse Orange, left the Gators in a lateral move to the Tennessee Volunteers before the 2008 season. Florida’s running backs coach position opened after current assistant Kenny Carter decided to accept the same job with head coach Charlie Strong and the Louisville Cardinals.

Drayton, a member of the Gators coaching staff for three seasons from 2005-07, left in 2008 after he attempted to leverage a job with Tennessee to increase his salary and responsibilities at Florida. Head coach Urban Meyer did not fire Drayton but instead suggested he take the position made available to him. “I can’t go into too much detail, but it was a little rough, a little rocky,” Drayton said at the time. “He had a coach that was getting ready to entertain a situation at his rival school. I understood that completely.”

Other stops Drayton has made include Mississippi State (2004), the NFL’s Green Bay Packers (2001-03), Bowling Green (2000) and Villanova (1996-2000). While with Green Bay, Drayton was the offensive quality control and assistant special teams coach.

Upon departing Gainesville, FL, Drayton slighted the Gators while propping up Meyer to the Nashville Tennessean, saying that Florida was not a program that nurtured running backs. “The offense that we were running at Florida didn’t have much involvement from the running back,” Drayton said. “There was some frustration there, to be honest with you. But you’re in a community that’s very supportive of Florida. Florida’s been good to me for three years. It was a very comfortable situation, it really was. Urban Meyer made it a very comfortable situation for me.”

Gators running back Anthony Gay spoke to the Sporting News in January 2008 about the rocky relationship between the two coaches. “They ain’t like this,” Gay said while holding up crossed fingers. “They’re not even really tight. A lot of days, I’ve seen Coach Drayton shed tears before. Not in front of [Meyer], but right after practice because of how he acknowledged him, because of how he belittled him.”

In a release from the University of Florida, Meyer welcomed Drayton and new linebackers/special teams coach D.J. Durkin to the staff. “Coach Addazio and I worked together on this and are excited to have D.J. and Stan join our coaching staff,” Meyer said. “Both guys are familiar with the plan we have for our program, our coaches and our student-athletes. It will be a smooth transition and they both bring a high level of expertise to the table and have proven to be good recruiters.”

UPDATE: Pat Dooley of this Gainesville Sun wrote the via his twitter account Tuesday evening – “I hear Urban Meyer apologized for cutting [Drayton] loose [two] years ago.”

12 Comments

  1. BillyGatorFan72 says:

    Adam,

    I thought Stan left on bad terms. Didn’t he say he didn’t want to coach at a school that doesn’t use running backs? Please clarify. Thanks! B.

  2. See second and third paragraphs.

  3. O-town Gator says:

    WOW – that’s interesting, Adam. I was maybe thinking that perhaps he and Dan Mullen butted heads, but after what you had said, and the way I see it, Coach Meyer was unhappy at that time that Drayton was jumping ship to join Kiffykins up in Rocky Top.

  4. Everything about this story with Drayton is sketchy to me. But O-town, he worked with Fulmer in 2008, not Kiffin in 2009.

  5. O-town Gator says:

    Thanks for the correction, Adam. Even so, I still see Meyer’s POV in Drayton’s going to a school that was one of Florida’s “Big Three” rivals that left a bad taste in his mouth.

  6. Certainly. This hiring is quite strange.

  7. Brittany says:

    Ugh, this is weird.

  8. Gatorfan33 says:

    I would like to have heard the convo between Stan and Urban in regards to this decision. That had to be awkward to say the least. Not to mention that if their relationship was so strained that Stan cried at times why would he put himself back in that situation. Much like other Gator news lately this situation doesn’t make much sense to me.

  9. ReptilesRule says:

    Look at it this way…he knows the system, was here for a NC, obviously has good experience and from what I have heard is a good recruiter. I know Coach Meyer was unhappy that he went to a rival school but didn’t Billy Gonzalez just take off for LSU?? I think right now that Urban is looking for continuity and wants to keep things on track.

  10. SC Gator says:

    This is…beyond strange. And even setting aside his being cut two years back, or the fact he sure seems to get around… I was far from impressed with his coaching ability the last time he was here.

  11. G8orballboy says:

    I know coach Drayton personally from when I worked with the team and he is a GREAT man and a very good coach. I never understood the conditions of him leaving since 06 was my last year, but I’m excited to have him back. With Brantley at QB and with the talent we have and we’re getting at RB, he’s comming back to a good situation.

  12. Mr2Bits says:

    I’m excited to have him back. Every employee becomes disgruntles with their employer at some point. With all the pressures CF coaching has I can see where Drayton may have felt some of the intense pressures that Meyer feels now. I can also see how he was defending the players and his position when Meyer rolled in and in 2007 all but diminished our running backs position with the start of Tebows legacy. Drayton had more money and the opportunity to use and develop the players he recruited where as Meyer somewhat put a nix to that position.

    Whats more concerning and “odd” as the term most of you used is that Kenny Carter departed a top five program which would ultimately lead to a higher position in the offense of some other school. His lateral move especially to a crap middle east program has be baffled and led to believe he has essentially just put the nail in the coffin of his career.

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