So much for coaching continuity. Just one year after joining the program as a member of head coach Jim McElwain‘s first Florida Gators staff, defensive backs coach Kirk Callahan will be looking for a new job.
Florida announced Friday that Callahan “will not return” to the program for 2016. “We are making a change on our staff,” McElwain said in a release. “Moving forward, Kirk Callahan will be looking at some other opportunities and he has a long career ahead of him.”
Callahan, 30, was the youngest and least experienced member of the Gators’ staff. He is actually the second hire McElwain’s had to replace as defensive line coach Terrell Williams left the team weeks after being hired in 2015 to take the same position with the Miami Dolphins.
McElwain had trumpeted staff continuity as an important facet of his regime at Florida; the concept has been needed for the Gators considering how much turnover there was over four seasons under Will Muschamp.
A source close to the program told OnlyGators.com late on Friday that on-field coaching issues coupled with recruiting concerns ultimately led to Callahan’s departure. The same source noted that McElwain is hoping to replace Callahan with a more experienced assistant but cautioned that – based on the candidate – a replacement may not be hired until after National Signing Day on Feb. 3.
Though McElwain did not have a personal connection to every hire he made last year, he boasted that each was brought onboard in a thoughtful manner with staff cohesion a primary focus.
As such, potential names that make sense immediately include Mississippi State cornerbacks coach Deshea Townsend (previously worked under defensive coordinator Geoff Collins) and New Mexico cornerbacks coach Al Simmons (McElwain’s veteran co-defensive coordinator at Colorado State), though McElwain has also proved a penchant for making “home run” hires like he did with a couple assistants a year ago. Considering the talent and ability to recruit at UF, there should be plenty of options to fill the position.
McElwain will also have to make a decision about offensive line coach Mike Summers, the lone holdover from Muschamp’s staff and the only coach not on contract entering the 2016 season.
Callahan was set to earn $315,000 in his second year, money the Gators will owe in full unless he is hired elsewhere and terms of his contract are mitigated.