Muschamp promotes D.J. Durkin
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 11:40 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 3:38 p.m.
In a matter of only hours Thursday, the Florida Gators lost one defensive coordinator and gained another.
Not long after the news broke that Dan Quinn was returning to the NFL to become the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator, UF coach Will Muschamp announced the promotion of linebackers coach and special teams coordinator D.J. Durkin to defensive coordinator.
"I'm happy for Dan and this opportunity," Muschamp said in a UF news release. "I've said before that I always encourage my staff when opportunities arise to take the next step in their career. Dan's background is in the NFL and this is a great chance to go back to a place he's familiar with.
"D.J. and I will run the defense, continuing the way that Dan and I did for the past two years. We will look to add another coach that is the best fit for our staff moving forward."
Durkin, who was brought to UF by Urban Meyer in 2010, will continue to coach the UF linebackers. Promoting Durkin also should help the Gators preserve their defensive recruiting class. Durkin is considered one of the strongest recruiters on the UF staff.
“I wish Coach Quinn the best. A pretty big loss, but life goes on. We'll be fine,” UF defensive back commit Keanu Neal wrote on his Twitter account.
Defensive end commit Jordan Sherit tweeted: “It's still Muschamp's defense. I wish Coach Quinn nothing but the best, one of the realest coaches I've ever met. Go Gators.”
With so many job openings in the NFL, coupled with the job Quinn has done in making Florida’s defense one of the best in college football, it seemed inevitable that Quinn would have an opportunity to return to pro football as a defensive coordinator soon.
That opportunity came Thursday.
Only hours after Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was announced as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ new head coach, the Seahawks announced on Twitter that they had replaced Bradley with Quinn, who served as the team’s defensive line coach under Bradley for two years before coming to UF in 2011.
Muschamp announced Durkin’s promotion to defensive coordinator only a few hours later.
In the second season under Quinn, the Florida defense emerged as one of the strongest in the nation in 2012, finishing the season fifth in the nation in scoring defense (14.5 points a game) and in total defense (287.5 yards a game). The Gators also were No. 2 in the nation in pass efficiency defense.
Quinn said near the end of the season that he was really enjoying his college coaching experience and could see himself remaining at UF for a considerable time. He said one of the great things about the job was developing young players.
But the opportunity to return the Seattle as the defensive coordinator was too good for Quinn to pass up. He had a chance to become the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator a year ago, but elected to stay at UF instead.
"My wife Stacey and I loved our time in Gainesville,” Quinn said in a statement released by UF. “The last two years have been an awesome experience, working for Will and Mr. Foley and with a bunch of talented, great players and coaches. Even though we'll be in Seattle, we look forward to keeping track of the Gators in the future."
Quinn signed an amended contract with UF last February that ran through the 2013 season. His annual salary was going to be increased from $490,000 to $510,000 on Feb. 1. And if Quinn had stayed on the job until Jan. 31, 2014, he would have received a bonus of $80,000.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.