The Florida Gators have tabbed Central Michigan Chippewas wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni to fill the same position on their staff, according to numerous sources. Hired to replace Billy Gonzales, who has taken the “passing game coordinator” job with the LSU Tigers, Azzanni was picked as a graduate assistant by Florida head coach Urban Meyer when he accepted the Bowling Green Falcons coaching gig in 2001-02.
“He is a tireless worker, relentless recruiter, and a great teacher of fundamentals,” Meyer said. “He is also very familiar with our philosophy and will be a good fit with our players and staff.”
Meyer, a former WR coach himself with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Illinois State Red Birds, Colorado State Rams and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, spent less than 24 hours making his decision on who would replace Gonzales. Azzanni has coached WRs with the Valparaiso Crusaders (1999-2000), Falcons (2003-06) and Chippewas (2007-09), earning a promotion to assistant head coach at Central Michigan before the 2009 season.
“I’ve known Coach Meyer for a number of years and it will be great to be coaching with him again,” Azzanni said. “I’m excited to be joining the Florida football staff and becoming a part of the Gator Nation.”
This season, Azzanni’s top two receivers with the Chippewas are widely considered the best duo in the nation, combining for 49 touchdown receptions. Bryan Anderson (who has set an NCAA record with a catch in 53 straight games) and Antonio Brown (who has a streak of his own with 40 consecutive games with a catch) have topped 3,500 and 3,000 yards receiving in their respective Central Michigan careers. While with Bowling Green, Azzanni’s pass catchers broke almost every school receiving record with five going on to eventually sign NFL contracts.
OGGOA will update this story as more information is made available.