Report: Florida to hire Colorado State strength coach Mike Kent

By Adam Silverstein
January 3, 2015

The Florida Gators coaching staff has already undergone significant changes with more assistant hires expected to be named any day now, and as new head coach Jim McElwain looks to refresh the team’s entire infrastructure, a shift will also be coming to Florida’s strength and conditioning program.

As first reported by on Tuesday, the Gators’ current director of strength and conditioning, Jeff Dillman, will leave the program following the 2015 Birmingham Bowl on Saturday.

According to the Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson, McElwain has reached back to his Colorado State Rams staff for Dillman’s replacement, tabbing Mike Kent as Florida’s third strength and conditioning coach in the last five seasons.

A 34-year coaching veteran who spent three seasons on McElwain’s staff at Colorado State, Kent has replaced Dillman before, taking over the Appalachian State program in 2009 and remaining there until McElwain brought him over to CSU in 2012.

Florida would be Kent’s highest-profile job by far as his prior experience as a program leader include a second stint at Appalachian State (1990-98) and stops at Eastern Kentucky (1999), Louisville (2000-03), Pittsburgh (2004-06) and Kansas State (2007-09). McElwain was also at Louisville from 2000-02.

Kent started “Ram U” at Colorado State in 2012. The five-week spring system, modeled after Alabama’s “4th Quarter” program, tested the Rams’ physical and mental strength, pushing players to their limits.

“This is about more than football,” McElwain said in a statement on CSU’s website last February. “The lessons learned and the endurance required in the Ram U program will not only help them in playing the game of football, but will carry with them the rest of their lives, with their families and in their careers.”

Kent is just one of a number of reported hires that the Gators have yet to announce. Florida has also reportedly come to terms with Arkansas’ Randy Shannon as linebackers coach and Colorado State’s Tim Skipper as running backs coach.

McElwain has already announced his coordinator hires, tabbing Mississippi State’s Geoff Collins to lead the defense and Michigan’s Doug Nussmeier to help direct the offense. There is also a strong expectation that current Gators offensive line coach Mike Summers has been asked to remain with the program.


  1. Mac_Supporter says:

    Adam, any word on T-Rob’s status?

  2. Daniel M. says:

    I hope Kent brings a more focused approach to Florida S&C than what Dillman displayed. Not sure why Dillman was always in the middle of the sideline fray on game day, chest bumping and such, but I always found his antics peculiar.

  3. Michael Jones says:

    Hopefully we won’t be as injury prone with Kent in charge of strength and conditioning. Not that I’m blaming Dillman, because a lot of factors go into injuries, not the least of which is old fashioned bad luck. But for all the hoopla surrounding Dillman, I never saw a Gators team that was particularly overpowering during his tenure. To the contrary, we often got manhandled by other SEC teams in the trenches.

    Gotta trust that McElwain knows what he’s doing.

    Go Gators!!!!

  4. Teaguer says:

    Seemed like Dillman was just not getting it done. Comparing our players to teams like Alabama … it just never looked like our players were getting much bigger and stronger. You can see on obvious visible difference in the Alabama players over their 3-4 years in the program. Also, all the injuries over the years have made me very suspect of our Strength training progam. Although, I have always like Dillman from a Motivational standpoint … has alot of fire! Best of luck to him in the future.

  5. KB says:

    Looks like T-Rob is gone and Lawling will not be retained as coaching search reports that Mac has hired the former Raiders D-line coach. Maybe the O-line coach will be but who knows at this point as Mac continues to put together his staff. With the bowl game ending we usher in a new era. Hopefully, this era will be significantly more successful than the last. Ready to see what Mac can do and how the team will improve under his stewardship.

  6. corey says:

    The problem with Dillman is that– like Muschamp– he has a very stubborn philosophy that makes him into a square peg/round hole guy. People that are committed to olympic weightlifting programs enjoy more shoulder, neck, and knee injuries that people committed to a more balanced program. It’s just a dogma in the personal training community that persists– the power-is-everything mindset. It makes no use of modern structural knowledge. Powerful large muscles are appropriate for some bodies but not for others. Those muscles end up overpowering joints and straining them, and not only that, the tightening muscles puts a further strain on overall body structure which makes it tougher to react spontaneously. Also, power lifting is not ergonomic unless you perform it perfectly. Here’s the problem with that: you’re going to perform it incorrectly until you get it down. There’s no training wheels for squats and dead lifts. All you can do is use less weight or no weight, which still stresses some of our more weakly evolved joints enough to make injuries far more frequent than with a more scientific program. Exercise science is one of the most infected with personal woo of all endeavors. Now, take a look back at the last three years. Have we had a LOT of shoulder and knee injuries? More than we had under the previous guy? Bingo.

  7. Dino says:

    dillman—a total bust–fla was injured and out of shape the whole time—the new coordinator needs to do what alabama does—their players play strong in quarter 4–that’s what matters.

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