The Florida Gators have added two new assistant coaches — former Mississippi State assistant and interim head coach Greg Knox and longtime SEC assistant Sal Sunseri — to Dan Mullen’s first Florida staff, the school announced Wednesday.
Knox had been rumored and reported to be Florida-bound since almost the moment Mullen departed Starkville for Gainesville, but he stayed with the Bulldogs — whom he had coached as a Mullen assistant for the last eight years — to serve as interim head coach for the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, played on Sunday. That the Bulldogs fended off Louisville and 2016 Heisman Trophy recipient Lamar Jackson — harassing Jackson into four interceptions on the way — was probably not what got Knox a job at Florida, but it certainly didn’t hurt his stock.
Sunseri, meanwhile, was reported to be taking a job with the Gators only on Tuesday, with Wednesday’s announcement coming under 24 hours since he was first linked to the position by FootballScoop.
Florida’s announcement does not specify positions for either Knox or Sunseri, but FootballScoop reports that Knox is in line to be Florida’s tight ends coach, and possibly take on special teams responsibilities, while Sunseri’s long career — he’s been coaching continuously since 1985 — has been one spent largely coaching the defensive line and linebackers.
Florida has now announced seven new hirings — offensive assistants Billy Gonzales, John Hevesy, and Brian Johnson, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, defensive backs coach Charlton Warren, and Knox and Sunseri — for Mullen’s staff, and has also retained running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider and linebackers coach Tim Skipper from Jim McElwain’s 2017 staff, at least for now. (Seider is widely expected to remain on staff under Mullen, while Skipper’s future is less clear, and it would not be a surprise to see him depart the Gators.)
But that means that Florida is also currently at the NCAA’s current limit of nine on-field assistant coaches for FBS teams, with almost a week to wait until a rule allowing FBS teams to hire a 10th on-field assistant goes into effect on January 9.
And that means that while Mullen has sailed fairly smooth seas in assembling a staff with a lot of experience with him and in the SEC footprint, things could get a bit choppier in the near future.