JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The media sessions before Jim McElwain’s spring speaking tour stops often involve many of the same questions and much the same message from the Florida head coach.
Occasionally, though, there is a new nugget of information revealed.
After mentioning on the SEC’s spring teleconference Monday how he had been contacted about five of his assistant coaches in regard to potential head coaching jobs, McElwain rattled off the list on Tuesday before speaking to the Gator Club of Jacksonville.
Of course, former defensive coordinator Geoff Collins left in December to take the head coaching job at Temple. Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and then-running backs coach (now linebackers coach) Tim Skipper were also discussed in the media as potential candidates for open jobs. Newly elevated defensive coordinator Randy Shannon, a former head coach at Miami, was another of the five courted Gators assistants, McElwain said.
The fifth, meanwhile, might be more of a surprise.
“Geoff, Randy, Nuss, obviously Skip and Coach Nord actually,” McElwain said.
Greg Nord is the Gators’ veteran tight ends coach and special teams coordinator.
Collins was the only one of that group to leave, but the Gators lost two other assistants as offensive line coach Mike Summers left for the same position at Louisville in January and defensive backs coach Torrian Gray took a job with the Washington Redskins in February.
“You hate to see guys leave. Torrian did a great job for us, but his dream when he came here was, ‘You know, I spent 10 years at Virginia Tech and never had an opportunity to go in the NFL and coach.’ And he spent one year with us and the next thing you know he’s at the Washington Redskins. I said, ‘That’s the way it should be.’ It’s about opportunities, and that’s what I love,” McElwain said.
Overall, McElwain feels that outside interest in his coaching staff speaks to a recognition about what the Gators are accomplishing.
“I had five guys on our staff that I was contacted about potential head coaching jobs. I think that’s awesome because what it does, it really, nationally the people recognize what we’ve been able to do here, which is unbelievable knowing what it was when we got here. And that’s a credit to these coaches,” he said.