Florida promotes assistant Durkin to defensive coordinator
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida coach Will Muschamp wasted little time finding a replacement for departing defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
He didn't have to search very far, either.
Muschamp promoted linebackers coach/special teams coordinator D.J. Durkin to the DC position Thursday, keeping some continuity during a hectic recruiting period. Durkin will continue to serve as linebacker coach.
"D.J. and I will run the defense, continuing the way that Dan and I did for the past two years," Muschamp said in a statement.
Quinn accepted an offer to return to the NFL as Seattle's defensive coordinator earlier Thursday, hours after Gus Bradley left to take the head-coaching job with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Quinn served as Florida's coordinator the past two seasons, working closely with Muschamp as the Gators ranked in the top 10 nationally in total defense. He previously worked as Seattle's defensive line coach.
"I'm happy for Dan and this opportunity," Muschamp said. "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."
Muschamp plans to hire an assistant to fill out his coaching staff.
Durkin spent the last three seasons in Gainesville, one of the few holdovers from former coach Urban Meyer's staff.
Durkin began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Meyer at Bowling Green in 2001 and later served stints as a defensive assistant at Notre Dame (2003-04), Bowling Green (2005-06) and Stanford (2007-09).
He was a four-year starter at defensive end/linebacker at Bowling Green (1997-2000) and was a team captain as a junior and senior.
Now, he becomes Florida's third defensive coordinator in the last four years. Charlie Strong left to become Louisville's head coach following the 2009 season. Teryl Austin replaced him for one season. Muschamp hired Quinn in 2011.
Durkin takes over a Florida defense that is losing seven starters. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, safety Matt Elam and linebacker Jelani Jenkins left school early to enter the NFL. Four seniors - defensive tackle Omar Hunter, safety Josh Evans, linebacker Jon Bostic and defensive end Lerentee McCray - also are moving on.
But the Gators have plenty of talent on that side of the ball, with cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson returning along with defensive linemen Dominique Easley, Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler. Florida also has young linebackers Antonio Morrison, Michael Taylor and Neiron Ball.