The University of Florida has officially announced the hiring of Miami Dolphins linebackers coach George Edwards as the Florida Gators new defensive coordinator. According to the UF release, Edwards will also work specifically with the inside linebackers while former assistant defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Heater will coach the entire secondary and serve in title as “co-defensive coordinator.”
Edwards, an 18-year coaching veteran, started his career with the Gators as an assistant under Steve Spurrier in 1991. He would then fill a similar role with Appalachian State (1992-95) and Duke (1996) before being hired by Georgia as a defensive line coach in 1997. Edwards moved to the NFL to coach the defensive line for the Dallas Cowboys (1998-2001) but was snatched up by the Washington Redskins and then-head coach Spurrier as an assistant defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2002.
The Redskins promoted him to defensive coordinator in 2003, but he only lasted until the end of Spurrier’s tenure. Hired by the Cleveland Browns to coach linebackers in 2004, Edwards was stolen away in 2005 by then-Dolphins head coach Nick Saban in a lateral move. He has been retained by Miami through two head coaching changes to Cam Cameron and Tony Sparano, who moved him to inside linebackers coach in 2008.
“George is a tremendous teacher of the game of football,” said Florida head coach Urban Meyer. “He has proven himself at the highest level in the National Football League, but his roots started at the college level at Florida and in the SEC. He is a great addition to our staff and will be a great coach and mentor to our players.”
Prominent names Edwards has coached throughout career in college and the pros include Richard Seymour and Marcus Stroud (Georgia); Dexter Coakley (Dallas); LaVar Arrington, Jesse Armstead and Jeremiah Trotter (Washington); and Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas and Joey Porter (Miami). Former Gators now Dolphins LB Channing Crowder has referred to Edwards as “the best assistant coach in the NFL, period,” adding that “Coach Edwards is one of the best assistants in the NFL. He has had a huge impact on me and I looked up to him like a father.”
Edwards also made a statement about his new position. “I’m thrilled to be joining the UF coaching staff,” he said. “I started my career at the college level at Florida and I enjoy teaching and molding young men. I am looking forward to working with a great group of people at Florida and a great group of players.”
Heater, a 33-year coaching veteran and one of Florida’s strongest recruiters, has worked Meyer on-and-off since 1986 when he coached the secondary for the Ohio State Buckeyes while Meyer was a graduate assistant. From 1991-92, the duo was with the Colorado State Rams as defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach and wide receivers coach, respectively. After Meyer was hired to lead the Utah Utes, he brought Heater along in 2004 as his cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator. Since joining the Gators, Heater has coached cornerbacks and safeties, served as recruiting coordinator from 2005-07 and assistant defensive coordinator from 2008-09.
Previous stops for Heater included Colorado, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Toledo and Northern Arizona, and he has also been associated with six National Coaches of the Year in his playing and coaching career including Meyer, Barry Alvarez, Earle Bruce, Lou Holtz, Bill McCartney and Bo Schembechler.
Florida Gators (Projected) 2010 Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Urban Meyer
Interim Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line: Steve Addazio
Quarterbacks: Scot Loeffler
Wide Receivers: Zach Azzanni
Running Backs: Stan Drayton
Tight Ends: Brian White
Defensive Coordinator, Inside Linebackers: George Edwards
Co-Defensive Coordinator, Defensive Backs: Chuck Heater
Associate Head Coach, Defense/Defensive Line: Dan McCarney
Outside Linebackers: D.J. Durkin
Urban Meyer D.J. Durkin
Billy Gonzales (LSU) TBD
Director of Player and Community Relations: Terry Jackson