Florida hires Wesley McGriff as new assistant; Chris Ash, Charlie Strong among names up for open job

By Adam Silverstein
January 7, 2021
Florida hires Wesley McGriff as new assistant; Chris Ash, Charlie Strong among names up for open job

Image Credit: Tiffany Franco / UAA

Despite reports that the Florida Gators would be heading in a more familiar direction to improve their staff, they instead on Saturday announced the hiring of Wesley McGriff to one of two open assistant roles on head coach Dan Mullen’s staff. Florida did not specify McGriff’s position, but it is expected that he will coach cornerbacks.

“Coach McGriff brings a high level of familiarity in the National Football League and Southeastern Conference, being a coordinator and position coach,” Mullen said in a statement. “His track record of preparing players for the NFL and his success coaching at every level speaks for itself. His energy and tireless effort in recruiting will be an asset to our defensive staff.”

McGriff, 52, has coached at Auburn over three of the last five seasons. He was co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 2016, departed to become defensive coordinator at Ole Miss from 2017-18, and then returned as secondary coach from 2019-20. He also has NFL experience, coaching defensive backs for the New Orleans Saints (2013-15). McGriff was also a co-defensive coordinator at Ole Miss in 2012 and has experience coaching defensive backs at Vanderbilt (2011), Miami (2007-10) and Baylor (2003-06). He has been coaching across college and the pros since 1990 and is known as a strong recruiter.

It was previously reported that the Gators were looking to bring back former defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, potentially as a co-defensive coordinator alongside Todd Grantham. Robinson, who was recently defensive coordinator at South Carolina and had been coaching under mentor Will Muschamp since joining UF in 2011, was hired Saturday by Miami as its new defensive backs coach.

A different even more familiar name may be on his way back to Florida as Football Scoop has listed Alabama analyst Charlie Strong among candidates to take the final open spot on staff. Former Texas defensive coordinator Chris Ash and Pittsburgh safeties coach Cory Sanders are also believed to be up for the job, among others. 247Sports reports that Ash is believed to be the top candidate for the remaining position.

It is likely that McGriff or the other new hires will move into a co-defensive coordinator position with each coaching half of the defensive backs (one focused on cornerbacks, the other safeties). It is fair to speculate that perhaps Robinson desired control of the entire secondary along with co-defensive coordinator duties, which perhaps may not have been aligned with Florida’s plans.

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