Florida has hired six coaches, led by Randy Shannon as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, to Jim McElwain's first staff as the Gators' head coach, the school announced Monday, and will retain offensive line coach Mike Summers.
Florida's release includes this quote from McElwain.
"As we were putting this staff together, we wanted to make sure that all the parts fit for us to be successful. This group has the knowledge, understanding and experience recruiting and coaching in the South, the state of Florida and the Southeastern Conference. They are like thinkers and don’t have self-serving agendas.
"They will all help our players be successful on the field, as students and in life and are excited about the opportunity to join The Gator Nation. This is the first step in putting together an infrastructure that will put the Gators back where we belong."
The Gators announced the hirings of Shannon, as "Associate Head Coach," co-defensive coordinator, and linebackers coach; Tim Skipper, as running backs coach; Greg Nord, as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator; Terrell Williams, as defensive line coach; Kirk Callahan, as defensive backs coach; and Mike Kent, as strength and conditioning coach.
Conspicuously absent from that list is a wide receivers coach, and the candidate that emerged Sunday, Syracuse's George McDonald, no longer appears viable. Florida will obviously eventually hire a coach to that position, but it's unclear who it will be; Alabama wide receivers coach Billy Napier and former Chicago Bears wide receivers coach Mike Groh, each rumored as candidates for the position, haven't been as buzzed-about of late as they were earlier in December.
And the granting of titles to Shannon is certainly interesting, especially given the fanfare made about the hiring of Geoff Collins as a defensive coordinator two weeks ago. I'd guess Collins is more likely to have control of the defense, but Shannon has more experience as a defensive coordinator, and his name recognition is certainly better in Florida, especially South Florida. Brad Lawing was given the same "Associate Head Coach" title when Florida hired him in 2013, though what his responsibilities were in that role are unclear.
Update: Or, as the aptly named Clever_Handle notes below, it might just be about Shannon's Arkansas contract having a clause specifying that his buyout would be waived if he left for a coordinator position, and Florida might just have saved him (or itself) $50,000.
All told, though, this appears to be a solid staff of coaches, with a bit of a slant toward youth and recruiting acumen — Nord and Summers would seem to be the odd men out on a staff that is otherwise entirely under the age of 50.