After spending eight years as Florida’s sideline reporter for radio broadcasts, former UF running back Brady Ackerman has decided to return to coaching.
Ackerman accepted an offensive analyst position at Jackson (Miss.) State last week, hoping to improve an offense that ranked 121st out of 123 FCS teams last season. At Jackson State, Ackerman will work under head coach Tony Hughes and offensive coordinator Hal Mumme, who was the head coach at Kentucky from 1997-2000. Ackerman and Mumme worked together as coaches at Valdosta (Ga.) State in the early 1990s.
Ackerman has hosted several sports radio shows in the Gainesville and Ocala area over the past 20 years as well. His insights will be missed. Most recently, Ackerman was working at TV20.
“I have been blessed to work with my alma mater the last eight years and cherish those memories and relationships,” Ackerman tweeted last week. “The time is right for me to chase my dream and trade in my microphone for a whistle.”
Before leaving for Jackson State, Ackerman shared with us his five most memorable moments on the UF sidelines:
1. Florida 16, LSU 10, Nov. 19, 2016: Florida clinched its second straight SEC East division title with a goal line stand in a game that was postponed due to Hurricane Matthew and controversially moved from Gainesville to Baton Rouge, La. “That’s the first time I celebrated on the sidelines,” Ackerman said. “You try to stay professional, but the circumstances of that game, the media, the way it was portrayed that Florida was trying to duck them. Florida doesn’t duck anybody.”
2. Florida 44, South Carolina 11, Oct. 20, 2012: While the game itself wasn’t memorable, former UF coach Will Muschamp’s halftime interview with Ackerman was. Even though Florida led 21-6 at the half, Muschamp was upset with the officiating, feeling some questionable flags were dropped against the Gators. “We just gotta continue to capitalize on what we’re doin’,” Muschamp said, then yelled “AND OVERCOME THE ADVERSITY ON THE FIELD.” Ackerman said that he got “a million texts” after the game. “People thought he was yelling at me,” Ackerman said. “He was yelling at the officials through me.” Ackerman said he had a follow up question ready, but opted instead to just send it back upstairs to UF radio play-by-play man Mick Hubert, “Just said, Mick, I didn’t think there was a need for a follow-up.”
3. Florida 37, Penn State 24, Jan. 1, 2011: In Urban Meyer’s final game coaching at Florida, he was pitted against Penn State Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno at the Outback Bowl in Tampa. Meyer had skipped his postgame interview with Ackerman in UF’s prior game, a 31-7 loss at Florida State. But Ackerman said Meyer was “relaxed, accommodating and talkative” following the bowl win. “He talked a lot about his players,” Ackerman said.
4. Florida 20, Texas A&M 17, Sept. 8, 2012: Ackerman said the atmosphere at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, was memorable for Texas A&M’s first SEC game. “When I went to the coin toss for the game they gave each of the captains a commemorative coin,” Ackerman said. “They were the only ones that got it. Hey this is the first time that Texas A&M has a coin toss in an SEC game.” The game itself was the college debut for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who would go on to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012 despite the loss to the Gators. “Caleb Sturgis made some big kicks for us,” Ackerman said.
5. Florida 28, Tennessee 27, Sept. 26, 2015: Florida rallied for 14 straight points in the fourth quarter to win its 11th straight game against the Vols. The go-ahead touchdown came on a 63-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Will Grier to receiver Antonio Callaway with 1:26 remaining on fourth down. “A bunch of fourth-down conversions, even before that,” Ackerman said, “It felt like the game was over and they made the play. Everyone went nuts on the sidelines.”