Florida hires J.C. Deacon as men’s golf coach

Less than two months after men’s golf coach Buddy Alexander announced his retirement following 27 years on the job, the Florida Gators found his replacement in UNLV Rebels assistant coach J.C. Deacon.

An assistant with the program from 2011-14, Deacon, 31, rejoined his alma mater six years after concluding his career as a student-athlete (2001-05). He helped lead UNLV to the 2002 Mountain West Championship. Deacon then spent nearly seven years playing professionally, winning two titles in his career and working on PGA Tour Canada from 2007-10, before getting into coaching.

Deacon becomes the 15th men’s golf coach in program history at Florida, stepping in for the exceedingly accomplished Alexander, a three-time GCCA National Coach of the Year and eight-time SEC Coach of the Year who won two national titles (1993, 2011) and eight SEC crowns (1989, 1991-94, 1999, 2003, 2011) with the Gators.

“When I finally had the chance to sit down with J.C. Deacon, everything I had been hearing over and over about him was apparent. There is much to offer with our storied golf program and J.C. will bring that message to the golf community,” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said in the school’s announcement.

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Strong hires Sanford as offensive coordinator

Though he is in Gainesville, FL, through the new year helping the Florida Gators prepare for the 2010 Sugar Bowl in what will be his last game as the team’s defensive coordinator, new Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong has made a big splash hiring. On Tuesday, Strong tabbed former UNLV Rebels head coach Mike Sanford as his offensive coordinator.

Sanford, who was Florida head coach Urban Meyer’s offensive coordinator with the Utah Utes from 2003-04, helped lead that team to back-to-back Mountain West Conference Championships and a victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. Under Sanford, quarterback Alex Smith won MWC Player of the Year, was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and became the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

Hiring Sanford lends credence to the belief that Strong wishes to feature an offense similar to that of the Gators’ in recent years. Now all the first-time head coach must do is recruit the talent needed to fill the necessary roles.

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Could Sanford be in, Addazio one-and-done?

The No. 1 Florida Gators averaged 28 points per game against Southeastern Conference regular season opponents in 2009, yet one of the hottest topics surrounding the team going into its final few games is its offensive struggles and need to open up the playbook. Much has been made of the drop-off in scoring (UF averaged 45 PPG in the same eight games in 2008), and critics are mostly attributing it to the playcalling and preparation provided by offensive coordinator Steve Addazio (compared to that of Dan Mullen) as well as the loss of wide receivers Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy to the NFL. Couple that with Tebow’s struggles and inconsistency from the offensive line, and you have the crux of the issue at hand.

News coming out of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Sunday night divulged that Rebels’ head coach Mike Sanford had been fired from his post. Compiling just a 15-43 record in his five seasons with the team, Sanford was initially considered a major coup for the program after serving as Urban Meyer‘s offensive coordinator for two years with the Utah Utes. During his time at Utah with Meyer, Sanford’s offense averaged 43.3 points per game, made quarterback Alex Smith a Heisman Trophy finalist (and eventual No. 1 overall pick) and led the team to a 21-2 overall record including a BCS Tostitos Fiesta Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers.

More on Sanford’s firing and a potential reunion with Meyer after the jump…
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