Seven Florida Gators football staffers depart for college assistant coaching jobs

By Adam Silverstein
January 29, 2016

Updated on Feb. 29 at 11 a.m.

Four internal staff members hired by Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain prior to his first season with the football team, plus a strength of conditioning assistant and two graduate assistants, will not return to the program in 2016 after getting assistant coaching jobs at different stops across the country.

Marc Nudelberg, who was hired as a quality control specialist just one year after serving as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator at Cincinnati, left to run special teams and coach running backs at Nevada.

Also on the quality control staff, John Garrett got hired away by Richmond to serve as its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Garrett, who had 19 years of offensive coaching experience (15 in the NFL), joined Florida after serving as an offensive coordinator at Oregon State in 2014.


Finally, program assistant John Van Dam departed to become offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Southern Illinois. Van Dam, one of McElwain’s last additions to his internal staff last year, was previously a graduate assistant under McElwain at Alabama and quality control coach under offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier at Michigan before taking a job with the Gators.

UF has also lost strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Peterson, a former Gators linebacker, to South Carolina as outside linebackers coach.

Updated on Feb. 17 at 11 p.m.: A fifth name can now reportedly be added to this list as it appears Toledo has hired away Florida quality control assistant Marquel Blackwell to serve as running backs coach, according to Sports Illustrated‘s Thayer Evans.

Updated on Feb. 29 at 1a a.m.: It now looks like seven people are no longer with the program as, according to FootballScoop.com, defensive graduate assistant James Rowe has moved on to serve as defensive coordinator at Valdosta State. CoachingSearch.com reported an hour later that GA Justin Hinds would join Rowe as his defensive line coach. Prior to joining UF, Rowe was the defensive coordinator at Jacksonville University.

Names no longer listed as Florida football staff members that appeared when OnlyGators.com last checked and broke down the entire staff in March include former defensive lineman Duke Lemmens (program assistant) and Jeremy Darveau (quality control), who left the team last April to become offensive line coach and run game coordinator at Valdosta State. Saphira Lazarre and Ryan McGee, who were each entering their third seasons as program assistants, are also nowhere to be found.

Casey Callahan, listed as a program assistant, remains on the roster despite his brother Kirk Callahan getting fired as defensive backs coach. Casey Callahan has been on staff since 2014.

New names appearing on the Gators’ staff list include director of football administration Deidra Church (who followed McElwain over from Colorado State), defensive quality control assistant Ryan McNamara (former Valdosta State defensive backs coach), offensive graduate assistant Eric Ellingsworth and program assistants Shawnee Sellers and Chelsea Harris.

3 Comments

  1. SW FL Joe says:

    Considering what units these were Quality Control Specialists for, no big loss.

  2. G8trATL says:

    Hey Adam,

    First thanks for the updates.
    My question, is the large turnover even at these positions “normal”? I’m thinking from a continuity standpoint no matter the role they play on the staff 7 people leaving after spending 1 season with coach Mac is NOT a positive sign.

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