The Florida Gators on Monday announced all but one member of head coach Jim McElwain‘s initial coaching staff.
The veteran staff includes a former head coach, ex-coordinators, an abundance of Southeastern Conference experience and coaches with renowned recruiting chops.
“As we were putting this staff together, we wanted to make sure that all the parts fit for us to be successful,” said McElwain in a statement released by the school. “This group has the knowledge, understanding and experience recruiting and coaching in the South, the state of Florida and the Southeastern Conference. They are like thinkers and don’t have self-serving agendas.
“They will all help our players be successful on the field, as students and in life and are excited about the opportunity to join The Gator Nation. This is the first step in putting together an infrastructure that will put the Gators back where we belong.”
Offensive line coach Mike Summers is the lone holdover from UF’s 2014 staff.
Below is a list of the hires along with OnlyGators.com‘s breakdown of each coach.
Randy Shannon – associate head coach, co-coordinator, linebackers coach
A Miami, Florida, native and veteran coach who spent the first 20 years of his career in Miami (17 with the Hurricanes, three with the Dolphins), Shannon served as a defensive coordinator (2001-06) and head coach (2007-10) of the Canes before being let go. He took over as linebackers coach at TCU in 2012 and moved over to Arkansas in 2013, adding the role of associate head coach. Shannon, 48, went 28-22 as head coach at Miami and was responsible for much of the Hurricanes’ recruiting successes. He earned more than $400,000 as an Arkansas assistant last season.
Greg Nord – tight ends coach, special teams coordinator
Nord’s 34-year coaching career includes stops at Kentucky (1979-89), East Carolina (1990-91), Georgia Tech (1992-94) and Louisville (1995-2009), where he coached either running backs or tight ends (or both) for 15-straight seasons. McElwain and Nord, 58, worked together under John L. Smith with the Cardinals from 2000-02, when Nord coached tight ends. He continued his career at Illinois (2010), back with UK (2011-12) and at WKU for the 2014 season.
Tim Skipper – running backs coach
McElwain’s assistant head coach and linebackers coach at Colorado State, Skipper is a versatile veteran who will be in the profession for his 15th season in 2015. Skipper, 36, has coached defensive backs, running backs (Fresno State, 2006-08) and linebackers; he’s also coordinated defenses at Western New Mexico (2002) and Sacramento State (2004-05). Skipper’s father (Jim Skipper, Carolina) and brother (Kelly Skipper, Oakland) are both currently running backs coaches in the NFL. Jim Skipper has coached running backs since 1979, in the NFL from 1986-Present (except 2001), while Kelly Skipper has coached running backs since 1997 but has been in the NFL since 2002.
Terrell Williams – defensive line coach
Williams, 40, is not as experienced as many of McElwain’s hires. He began his career coaching the defensive line at a number of smaller schools before taking over at Purdue (2006-09) and then Texas A&M (2010-11). He was hired by the Raiders in 2012 and is the first member of fired coach Dennis Allen’s staff to leave Oakland for another job.
Kirk Callahan – defensive backs coach
Callahan, a former Gators graduate assistant (2010-11), is a relatively young coach at 30 – especially compared with the rest of Florida’s hires – as the UCF job he’s held since 2012 is his first true assistant gig. Prior to that, he played for the Knights, served as a student assistant there in 2007 and was a graduate assistant for two years at North Carolina (2008-09). Callahan, a strong Tampa-area recruiter, led a UCF secondary in 2014 that finished 12th nationally in passing efficiency defense and 22nd in the country in passing yards allowed. He is the son of Seffner Armwood High School head coach Sean Callahan.
Mike Kent – director of strength and conditioning
A 34-year veteran who spent three seasons on McElwain’s staff at Colorado State, Kent has replaced Jeff Dillman before, taking over the Appalachian State program in 2009 and remaining there until McElwain brought him over to CSU in 2012. Florida is 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.
Florida previously announced the hires of Geoff Collins as defensive coordinator and Doug Nussmeier as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
The lone unfilled position on the Gators coaching staff is for a wide receivers coach. Former Florida quarterback Chris Leak, who served in that role in 2014, is expected to remain with the program in a non-coaching role.