Billy Donovan adds Matt McCall to staff

Just less than two weeks after he added John Pelphrey and Norm Roberts to the Gators’ staff, Billy Donovan rounded out his staff with his third coaching hire.

On Monday, the University of Florida announced the hire of Matt McCall for its third basketball assistant coaching position.

When he announced his first two coaching hires on April 12, Donovan stressed familiarity as one of the key factors he looked for in choosing coaches to fill the vacancies on the staff.

“Matt is someone that worked for our program for seven years, he knows the University of Florida and he knows me,” Donovan said Monday in a press release. “I felt, in losing three assistant coaches, that it was really important to have a level of familiarity on my staff.”

McCall is more than familiar with the Florida program after working on the Gators’ staff in various positions from 2001-08.

As both an undergraduate and graduate student at Florida, McCall worked with the basketball team. He began as a student manager for the team in the 2001-02 season.

A year later, he was named the head manager for the team. While he was head manager of the team, Florida captured its first national championship in 2006.

Following their national championship season, the Gators promoted McCall to director of basketball operations for the 2006-07 season.

With still McCall on staff, Florida claimed its second national championship and third-straight SEC Tournament title. He left to take a job as an assistant at Florida Atlantic following the 2007-08 season.

At Florida Atlantic, McCall helped turn the Owls’ program around in his three years there.

Coaching the backcourt and working as a tireless recruiter, he helped the Owls improve from a 6-26 record in 2009 to 14-16 in 2010 to 21-11 in 2011. During the 2011 season, McCall and Florida Atlantic captured a Sun Belt title and earned a bid to the NIT.

He helped recruit guard Greg Gantt, one of the top players on the team. In two years at Florida Atlantic, Gantt has averaged 14.8 points per game. He was named a mid-major freshman All-American in 2010 after averaging 15.6 points per game.

McCall’s relentless recruiting effort is something that made him a good candidate for Donovan’s staff.

While he’s young, he’s energetic and relates well to players on the recruiting trail. In Ocala, he established The McCall Basketball Academy for youth, helping develop some local ties in Florida.

“He is a hard worker, he was a part of us winning two national championships here and he helped FAU win its league title this year,” Donovan said. “He has great ties in the state of Florida, will be a great fit to our staff and I’m thrilled to have Matt come back to the University of Florida.”