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5 candidates for Florida's secondary coaching vacancies

Zach Abolverdi
Gainesville Sun
Former South Carolina defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson is considered the leading candidate to join Dan Mullen’s staff at Florida.

Florida’s Dan Mullen has two openings to fill on his staff after firing safeties coach Ron English and cornerbacks coach Torrian Gray last week. 

Mullen will likely replace them with a pair of assistants for the secondary, although he could hire one defensive backs coach and bring in a second assistant at another position. 

Here are five coaching candidates for the Gators: 

Travaris Robinson, 39

Robinson, a former UF assistant, is considered the leading candidate to join Mullen’s staff. He served as Florida’s defensive backs coach from 2011-14 under Will Muschamp. During that time, Robinson recruited a total of nine defensive backs who are still playing in the NFL. After a one-year stint at Auburn, his alma mater, Muschamp hired Robinson as his defensive coordinator at South Carolina, where he spent the last five seasons. New Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer did not retain Robinson last month. 

Terrell Buckley is considered a candidate to join Dan Mullen's coaching staff at UF.

Terrell Buckley, 49

Buckley is a name Florida fans should remember from his playing days at FSU, where he won the 1991 Jim Thorpe Award. He was selected No. 5 overall in the 1992 NFL draft and had a 14-year pro career, including a Super Bowl with the Patriots (XXXVI). Buckley was hired by Mullen in 2016 as his cornerbacks coach at Mississippi State, where they spent two years together. Buckley, who currently coaches corners at Ole Miss, worked with UF defensive coordinator Todd Grantham at MSU and Louisville (2014-15). 

Former Marshall head coach Doc Holliday is considered a candidate to join Florida coach Dan Mullen's staff.

Doc Holliday, 63 

Holliday worked with Mullen for three years at Florida (2005-07), serving as the associate head coach, safeties coach and recruiting coordinator for the Gators. Holliday was named one of Rivals.com's Top 25 Recruiters in 2005 and guided safety Reggie Nelson to consensus All-American honors. Despite being named the Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2020, Holliday did not have his contract renewed at Marshall this week. He finished with a 85-54 record in 11 seasons as the head coach.

Deshea Townsend is considered one of the top defensive backs coaches in the country.

Deshea Townsend, 45 

Townsend was a cornerback at Alabama and played 13 years in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls with the Steelers. He made his collegiate coaching debut in 2013 as Mullen’s cornerbacks coach at MSU, spending three seasons in his home state. Townsend was hired by the Tennessee Titans in 2016 and has been a secondary coach in the NFL for the last five years, currently with the Bears. Would he leave the league for the SEC? Townsend was an Arizona Cardinals assistant when Mullen hired him away the first time. 

Wesley McGriff is a SEC coaching veteran.

Wesley McGriff, 52

McGriff doesn’t have any ties to Mullen or Grantham, but has coached in the SEC for nearly a decade. He’s had two stints with Auburn (2019-present, 2016) and Ole Miss (2017-18, 2012) as well as stops at Vanderbilt (2011) and Kentucky (2001-02). McGriff, a Georgia native, also spent three seasons (2013-15) with the New Orleans Saints and four years as the Miami Hurricanes defensive backs coach (2007-10). His top recruits include UM’s Brandon Harris and Robert Nkemdiche at Ole Miss.