Confirmed: Gators hire Edwards as DC

Gator Country has confirmed through multiple sources that the Florida Gators completed their defensive staff Thursday with the hire of Miami Dolphins linebackers coach George Edwards as the new defensive coordinator. Edwards, who coached at Florida as an assistant under Steve Spurrier in 1991, takes over for Charlie Strong, who is the new head football coach at the University of Louisville.

A Duke graduate who was a linebacker for Steve Spurrier’s 1989 Atlantic Coast Conference champions, Edwards has extensive NFL experience with the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and Dolphins. He spent two years on Nick Saban’s staff in Miami before Saban departed for the University of Alabama.

Edwards began his coaching career under Spurrier and then moved to Appalachian State before stints at Duke and Georgia. His work at Georgia was so impressive that it landed him a job on Chan Gailey’s staff with the Dallas Cowboys. He coached with the Cowboys until Spurrier left Florida to become head coach of the Redskins. With the Redskins, Edwards was the assistant defensive coordinator in 2002 and the defensive coordinator in 2003.

Prior to the 2003 season, Edwards was offered the defensive coordinator’s job at Florida by then head coach Ron Zook. When Edwards turned Zook down to remain in the NFL, Zook turned to South Carolina to hire Charlie Strong.

Edwards left the Redskins following Spurrier’s retirement after the 2003 season and coached linebackers for the Cleveland Browns in 2004. When Nick Saban left LSU to become head coach of the Dolphins in 2004, Edwards was one of his first hires. Edwards was retained on the Dolphins staff when Saban left for Alabama following the 2006 season. Edwards was the longest tenured coach on the Dolphins staff until he took the Florida job Thursday.

Edwards, who will be 43 on January 16 is married (wife, Jami) and has one son (B.J.).

The hire of Edwards completes a busy week for Urban Meyer and the Gators. Earlier in the week, the Gators hired Stan Drayton from the Syracuse staff to replace Kenny Carter, who is joining Strong’s staff at Louisville as the running backs coach. On the same day, the Gators announced the hiring of D.J. Durkin from the Stanford staff to coach linebackers. Drayton was a member of Florida’s coaching staff from 2005-07, while Durkin was a graduate assistant for Meyer at Bowling Green in 2001-02.

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.