Durkin named new Gators defensive coordinator

Florida Gators linebackers coach and special teams coordinator D.J. Durkin has been promoted to defensive coordinator.

Shortly after former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn accepted the same position with the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday, head coach Will Muschamp officially announced that Durkin would be promoted within the program to be his replacement.

“I’m happy for Dan and this opportunity,” Muschamp said in a school release. “I’ve said before that I always encourage my staff when opportunities arise to take the next step in their career. Dan’s background is in the NFL and this is a great chance to go back to a place he’s familiar with.

“D.J. and I will run the defense, continuing the way that Dan and I did for the past two years. We will look to add another coach that is the best fit for our staff moving forward.”

Durkin, originally hired by then-head coach Urban Meyer in 2010, will continue coaching Florida’s linebackers as he has over the last three seasons. Muschamp is now charged with hiring a new assistant to handle special teams responsibilities.

At 35-years-old, Durkin has never coordinated a defense before but has succeeded in molding the Gators’ special teams unit into one of the nation’s best over the last three seasons. He now takes over a defense that was ranked top-10 nationally in 2011 and as one of the top five defenses in the country in 2012 under Quinn.

Durkin is known as a tireless recruiter who has helped bring in plenty of top-tier talent to Florida. He was even named Rivals.com‘s Recruiter of the Year for 2012.

“I am very, very fortunate to be recruiting at a place like Florida because I think the place almost sells itself,” he told Rivals back in Feb. 2012. “It is a great academic institution and there is obviously great football tradition here. We play in a great football stadium in the best conference in the world. I think the place really sells itself.

“When you have a head coach like Coach Muschamp, who does a great job with the players and has a great knowledge of the game and really recruits as hard as anyone, it makes my job kind of easy.”

Durkin will be Florida’s fourth defensive coordinator in five seasons following Quinn (2011-12), Teryl Austin (2010) and Charlie Strong (2002-09).

Photo Credit: Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel

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