Gators only adding to program

Published: Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 2:01 a.m.
Florida co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong has been listed by several newspapers as one of the candidates for the vacant head coaching job at Middle Tennessee State.
But Strong said Wednesday he hasn't had any contact from the school. Both Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley and Florida head coach Urban Meyer said they haven't been called for permission either.
Middle Tennessee athletic director Chris Massaro is a former associate AD at South Carolina where Strong served as defensive coordinator from 1999-2002.
"I haven't talked to them at all," Strong said.
Massaro, according to a source, did interview South Carolina recruiting coordinator Rick Stockstill on Monday.
Other names that have been listed as possible candidates are Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Larry Fedora, who coached at MTSU and was UF's coordinator last season, Dolphins assistant coach and former Oak Hall player Will Muschamp, Notre Dame offensive line coach Dan Latina, Alabama-Birmingham offensive coordinator Pat Sullivan and Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis. Fedora also said he has not been contacted.
Middle Tennessee fired Andy McCollum, who will coach his final game Saturday against Florida International, after a fourth straight losing season.
Another coach with a Florida connection looking for work is Jimmy Ray Stephens, who served as offensive line coach at Florida from 1993-2001. Stephens was dismissed by Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer after the Vols' disappointing season. He had been in Knoxville for the past four seasons.
"Obviously, there was pressure on Phil to make changes," Stephens said. "The whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth. It's a great game, but a bad business. It's not out of the realm of possibility that I'll go back to coaching high school football where I can enjoy it."
Stephens, a former Florida tight end, coached at six different Florida high schools during his career including Buchholz, Union County and Williston.
You can reach sports columnist Pat Dooley by e-mail at or by calling 374-5053.

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