Billy Napier hires former UNC assistant Jay Bateman to coach Florida Gators' inside linebackers

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Florida head football coach Billy Napier announced Tuesday that Jay Bateman has joined his staff as an assistant, coaching the inside linebackers.

A 24-year coaching veteran, Bateman heads to Gainesville after spending three seasons as North Carolina's co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach (2019-21).

Upon his arrival in Carolina in 2019, Bateman helped engineer major improvements in the Tar Heel defense, which was one of the nation's top five most improved units in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense that year.

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Bateman's aggressive style was evident in the team's 36 sacks in 2020, the most for a Carolina defense since 2000 and tied for fifth nationally. The scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense ranked in the top 35 of teams that played at least 10 games that season. The unit produced a first-team All-American in linebacker Chazz Surratt.

UNC described Bateman’s exit after this past season as a “mutual” parting after conversations between head coach Mack Brown and Bateman. The Tar Heels (6-7) closed the 2021 season by giving up 301 yards rushing and 543 overall in a 38-21 loss to South Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

Bateman spent 5 seasons at Army

Prior to UNC, Bateman spent five seasons (2014-18) as Army's defensive coordinator.

Bateman was one of five finalists for the 2018 Broyles Award, which honors the nation's best assistant coach, and a semifinalist in 2016.

In 2018, Bateman's defense at Army finished eighth nationally in total defense (295.5 ypg) and 10th in scoring defense (17.7 ppg).

Prior to Army, Bateman spent three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Ball State (2011-13).

The Associated Press contributed to this report