Updated at 9 p.m.
Back in March, OnlyGators.com provided an in-depth look at some of the first steps head coach Jim McElwain took to build and enhance the infrastructure of Florida Gators football. Specifically, McElwain created a top-notch support staff for the program, though he cautioned that there were still a handful of spots that would be available to add additional talent: “We’re not filled up yet,” he said.
It now appears as if one of those open slots has been taken. According to The Gainesville Sun’s Zach Abolverdi, who cited an anonymous source, six-year NFL veteran quarterback Charlie Frye will join the Gators this fall.
As far as what Frye will do with Florida in his non-coaching role, The Sun notes his responsibilities will include “player development and mental conditioning.”
Update: It was initially reported that Frye would be hired as a member of UF’s support staff. That report has since been changed to note that Frye will at least start out as a “consultant” with the team.
A four-year standout at Akron who set 54 school records while playing for the Zips, Frye was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the 67th overall pick in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He started 18 games for Cleveland in his first two seasons but saw little success, bouncing over to Seattle and Oakland before his time in the league came to an end due to a mix of ineffectiveness and multiple serious injuries.
Frye decided to remain involved in football and dip his toe into coaching, becoming the offensive coordinator of Jones High School in Orlando and later holding the same position for Wekiva High School in Apopka, Florida.
So what are the connections between Frye and the Gators?
His work as an offensive coordinator at both Jones and Wekiva came under Browns teammate Kenard Lang, a former Miami defensive end who learned from Randy Shannon, one of Lang’s position coaches with the Hurricanes. Shannon, of course, is now the associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Florida.
Frye, McElwain and Gators offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier were also in the NFL at the same time during the 2006 season, though McElwain (Oakland) and Nussmeier (St. Louis) were both serving as the quarterbacks coaches on other teams.
Furthermore, Frye held his high school offensive coordinator jobs while UF defensive backs coach Kirk Callahan was an assistant coaching and recruiting for UCF, which is also in Orlando and near Apopka.
Though Florida has yet to add Frye to its staff directory, he is currently being followed on Twitter by Nussmeier and multiple Gators staffers.
“We’ve been fortunate to attract some outstanding talent, guys that are going to be able to help this program move forward in their roles,” McElwain said on March 10 about his support staff. “Some of the value as far as looking forward to film breakdowns and things like that is huge. Getting another set of quality eyes on your product that can kind of sit back and see it a little bit from afar and bring some really good value to what you’re trying to accomplish. I think we’ve done that in those spots.”
He added: “Part of it is the people you get to work with, the new set of ways of doing things and just kind of refreshing yourself as a coach. These are transient positions by nature, which is great because we’re able to give an opportunity to a coach to advance his career and then, at the same time on the other end, we’re able to possibly bring in new ideas to stay fresh. That’s part of how this works. The other thing is, if a coach does move on to a head coaching job or something like that, it allows opportunities for guys internally and externally. I’ve seen it first-hand. It really is the way of moving forward and our administration has been fantastic.”