Florida hires Jules Montinar as defensive assistant, filling last coaching spot on staff

By Adam Silverstein
January 22, 2021
Florida hires Jules Montinar as defensive assistant, filling last coaching spot on staff

Image Credit: @GatorsFB / Twitter

After firing both secondary coaches following one of the worst defensive seasons in program history, Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen filled his lone remaining vacancy on Monday. Mullen announced the hiring South Florida cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator Jules Montinar to the same positions on his staff.

“We are excited to welcome Jules and his family to Florida,” Mullen said in a short release that did not include a statement from Montinar. “His experience recruiting in the state and familiarity in the conference will be a huge asset to our program.”

Montinar, a Florida native who played defensive back at West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky, only spent one year on the Bulls staff. He previously served as a defensive quality assistant at Georgia (2019) and cornerbacks coach (2016-17) and special teams coordinator (2018) at Texas State with prior stops at James Madison (2014-15), Alabama (2012-13), Purdue (2011), Lake Erie College (2010) and Eastern Kentucky (2008-09). He was a graduate assistant for the Boilermakers and Crimson Tide.

Though Montinar does not bring an exceptional on-field coaching resume, he is regarded as an strong recruiter.

This hire may feel like a head-scratcher for the Gators, which fired two veteran assistants after a disappointing 2020 season and appeared ready to hire a top-tier, veteran defensive coach potentially in a co-defensive coordinator role alongside embattled assistant Todd Grantham.

While former Auburn defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff was indeed a significant addition to the staff, coaches such as ex-South Carolina defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson, ex-Texas defensive coordinator Chris Ash and ex-Alabama defensive analyst Charlie Strong were all reportedly on a short list. Strong was previously the head coach at Texas and USF; Ash was the former head coach at Rutgers. Both Strong and Robinson are former Florida assistant coaches with Strong serving a long tenure as defensive coordinator.

Yet, Robinson took a job coaching defensive backs for Miami, while Ash and Strong both joined ex-Florida coach Urban Meyer as position coaches with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

At a time when Alabama head coach Nick Saban is filling staff vacancies with former NFL head coaches in Bill O’Brien and Doug Marrone, the Gators and Mullen apparently struggled to bring in top candidates for their jobs. Florida did, however, retain linebackers coach Christian Robinson, who flirted with leaving for Michigan.

In the end, Gators fans are unlikely to be thrilled with these position coach hirings as Florida will enter 2021 with Grantham still serving as the team’s lone defensive coordinator.

However, perhaps McGriff and Montinar will beef up recruiting in a significant manner with their fresh voices serving as a boon for a secondary that needs a lift. With the 2021 cycle over in two weeks, that recruiting impact won’t be known for at least a season if the defensive staff makes it that long given the on-field results from 2020.

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