Florida hires Jay Bateman as inside linebackers coach, filling out Billy Napier’s staff

By Adam Silverstein
January 17, 2022
Florida hires Jay Bateman as inside linebackers coach, filling out Billy Napier’s staff

The Florida Gators have hired Jay Bateman as the program’s new inside linebackers coach. Bateman is the ninth on-field assistant brought into the program by head coach Billy Napier, who is in the process of completing his first coaching staff.

Bateman has served as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach at North Carolina over the last three seasons. He was fired by head coach Mack Brown after the 2021 campaign saw the Tar Heels finish 94th in total defense and 105th in scoring defense out of 130 FBS teams.

Previously serving as the defensive coordinator at Army (2014-18), Ball State (2011-13) and Elon (2006-10), Bateman also coached linebackers at Ball State and Elon.

While with the Black Knights in 2018, Bateman was named a finalist for the Broyles Award given out annually to college football’s top assistant. Army’s defense had risen from 91st when he took over in 2014 to eighth nationally that season. One year prior, he was famously suspended for receiving inside information ahead of a game against Wake Forest from Demon Deacons radio announcer Tommy Elrod.

Overall, Bateman is known as a talented defensive coach who became an ace recruiter for the Tar Heels. He was the primary or secondary recruiter for five prospects (four on defense) who were ranked 150th or better in the 247Sports Composite across their respective classes.

Like Sean Spencer, who has reportedly been hired as co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, Bateman does not appear to have prior experience coaching alongside Napier. If the hire of Spencer is made official, Florida will have all 10 of its on-field assistant spots filled.

There is no indication that the Gators will have an on-field coach dedicated to special teams with the responsibilities likely going to a quality control assistant. Only seven of 65 Power Five teams operated without an on-field special teams coach during the 2021 season.

2022 Florida Gators coaching staff

Head coach: Billy Napier

Offensive coordinator / offensive line: Rob Sale
Asst. offensive line: Darnell Stapleton
Running backs: Jabbar Juluke
Wide receivers: Keary Colbert
Tight ends: William Peagler

Co-defensive coordinator / safeties: Patrick Toney
Co-defensive coordinator / defensive line: Sean Spencer (reported)
Cornerbacks: Corey Raymond
Outside linebackers: Mike Peterson
Inside linebackers: Jay Bateman

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