Florida has parted ways with defensive backs coach Kirk Callahan, announcing the move on its official website with a quote from head coach Jim McElwain on Friday.
"We are making a change on our staff," McElwain said. "Moving forward, Kirk Callahan will be looking at some other opportunities and he has a long career ahead of him."
Callahan came to Florida from UCF, where he held the same position, in January 2015, and was thought of as a rising name in both recruiting and defensive backs coaching. His surname was also thought to carry significant weight in the state of Florida: Kirk is the son of Sean Callahan, the venerable head coach of Armwood High School in the Tampa area and coach of elite 2015 prospect Byron Cowart, who chose Auburn over Florida on National Signing Day to much fanfare.
Callahan's coaching wasn't debated much in 2015, but Florida finished 17th in pass efficiency defense this season after finishing 10th in that category in 2014, despite continuity in its secondary and the rise of Jalen Tabor as a fantastic complement to Vernon Hargreaves III.
Whether Tabor's rise can be credited to Callahan is up for debate, but one thing that isn't is Florida's relative lack of traction on the recruiting trail in relation to defensive backs. Florida's best DB commit in the 2016 class is Chauncey Gardner, who was reeled in after a decommitment, but that likely has more to do with the Gators hiring a graduate assistant from his high school than Callahan. The rest of the Gators' committed defensive backs are no better than 247Sports Composite three-star players, and it seems very much possible that Florida could upgrade to a more dynamic recruiter.
Callahan signed a two-year contract with the Gators, so his departure is likely a firing announced as something softer, and Florida is likely on the hook for his $290,000 annual salary in 2016.
The move means Florida will not return every coach from its staff 2016, something the Gators were poised to do for the first time since 2008.