On the same afternoon he introduced his first 18 signees as Florida’s coach, Will Muschamp also announced the final addition to his star-studded staff.
Super Bowl winner Derek Lewis, the University of Minnesota’s tight ends/assistant special teams coach from 2007-10, has been hired by UF to coach tight ends.
A former Texas football player, Williams spent two seasons with the St. Louis Rams (1999-2000) and was a tight end on the Super Bowl XXXIV champions. Gator fans may remember Williams as the player who caught a 61-yard pass from quarterback James Brown on fourth-and-inches that sealed a 37-27 victory against heavily favored Nebraska in the inaugural Big 12 title game. In Austin, Tx. that completion still is fondly remembered as “The Play.”
That Cornhuskers’ loss propelled Florida into the 1997 Bowl Alliance national championship game, where UF avenged a previous 24-21 loss to top-ranked Florida State with a 52-20 win in the Sugar Bowl. That gave Florida its first of three national titles.
A New Orleans native, Lewis began his coaching career in 2005-06 when he was a graduate assistant at his alma mater. Muschamp served as UT’s defensive coordinator in Lewis’s second season as a GA.
Lewis, 33, spent a very brief time coaching defensive ends for North Texas before the opportunity at Minnesota presented itself to him.
“He’s helped the Gators before,” said Muschamp, who added Lewis has a lot of experience recruiting the state of Florida. “We’re looking forward to him helping us again.”
Additionally, Muschamp announced Brian White – the tight ends’ coach under former head coach Urban Meyer – would now coach running backs.
During an 11-year tenure at Wisconsin (1995-2006), White coached running backs (1995-98) and added offensive coordinator duties from 1999-2005. While with the Badger, White tutored (among others) 1999 Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne, 2001 NFL first round draft pick Michael Bennett, 2001 Big 10 freshman of the year Anthony Davis and 2006 Capital One Bowl Most Valuable Player, Brian Calhoun.
In each of his first eight seasons at UW, White produced a 1,000-yard rusher, and Dayne finished his career as college football’s all-time rushing leader with 6,397 yards, eclipsing the mark previously held by former Longhorns’ Heisman winner Ricky Williams.
White, who will be entering his 25th year of coaching in 2011, replaces Stan Drayton, now the wide receivers’ coach at Ohio State.
Also, wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill was named UF’s recruiting coordinator, giving him the same two positions he previously held at the University of Miami.
A Gator team captain in 1994, Hill finished his college career with 86 receptions and 18 touchdowns. Biggest of all, Florida had a four-year record of 43-10-1 (.806) with three Southeastern Conference championships when Hill, part of UF’s early-to-mid 1990s Miami Carol City pipeline, was in uniform.
Last season Hill helped UM’s Leonard Hankerson set school records for receiving yardage (1,516) and touchdowns (13). Hankerson is projected by many analysts to be one of the first five or six receivers chosen in April’s NFL Draft.
Prior to his three years at UM, Hill spent three seasons at Pittsburgh, where he coached (among others) Greg Lee, Derek Kinder and Oderick Turner. Hill also had stints at Duke and Elon early in his coaching career.
“We’ve got 161 years of coaching experience here, (including) 52 years in the NFL, (with) 17 BCS bowls and five Super Bowl rings, so this is a staff that is very accomplished,” Muschamp said. “And their expertise as far as their profession is concerned (is major) – both in the collegiate level and in the National Football League.”