Photo: Jay Bateman; Credit: Alex Shepherd
When Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier was introduced as the team's next head coach, he promised the Gator Nation an "army" when describing his incoming coaching staff.
The staff would consist of assistants who have gotten recognition around the college football world as some of the best in the game.
"We're going to hire an army of people here," Napier said on Dec. 5 last year. "We're going to create an infrastructure not only in the personnel department but also from an on-campus recruiting, creative media, name, image and likeness. We're going to create -- we've got a great vision for the organization that we're going to create here."
Napier, of course, was referring not only to the assistant coaches that he would eventually lock-in but also to the enormous support staff - comprised of 48 individuals that were eventually brought on to help build out the staff.
With that said, over the next couple of weeks, we at AllGators will be releasing profiles to get to know each assistant coach, including their background, recruiting history, quotes and more.
Next up is Florida's inside linebackers coach Jay Bateman, who comes with an extensive coaching history.
Bateman, 48, comes to Florida with an extensive 24-year coaching history. He was hired by Florida officially on Jan. 18.
Bateman began his coaching career as an assistant at Benedictine High School, a military school in Richmond (Va). He would spend three years there from 1995-97. After that, Bateman would dip his toes in the collegiate coaching space, starting at Hampden-Sydney as a graduate assistant in 1997-98.
After a couple of years there, Bateman would join Siena College, first as the program's defensive coordinator (1999) and then as the program's head coach (2000-03).
Bateman would bounce around a bit from then, becoming Richmond's assistant secondary coach (2004) and Lehigh's defensive line coach (2005) before settling down at Elon as the program's defensive coordinator/linebackers coach (2006-10).
He'd move on to Ball State from then as the team's defensive coordinator (2011-13), before becoming Army's defensive coordinator (2014-18). After that, he'd land at his most-recent post at North Carolina as the program's co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach (2019-21).
Bateman's recruiting history is impressive if only due to the role he held at North Carolina over the past few years. He was the program's primary recruiter for one of the best players in the country in 2021, defensive lineman Keeshawn Silver. Silver was rated as the No. 31 player in the country in '21.
He, along with NC's Mack Brown, helped get the Tarheels the No. 8 recruiting class in the country in 2021. During his career, Bateman was responsible as the primary recruiter for six four-star or greater players, including Silver.
Though not directly coached by Bateman, NC linebacker Chazz Surratt heard his name called in the 2021 NFL Draft, selected in the third round by the Minnesota Vikings. The program also saw defensive lineman Jason Strowbridge get selected in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins.
How it's going:
Bateman has already seen his recruiting prowess and versatility put to work at Florida, being one of the secondary recruiters for 2023 WR commit Creed Whittemore.
Bateman is the primary recruiter for IMG Academy LB Jordan Hall as well, who is planning to visit the program on June 3. Another player who Bateman, and his running mate, Mike Peterson, are in on is Andrew Jackson (Fla.) LB Grayson Howard.
Though it hasn't all come to fruition yet, given Bateman's coaching experience and expertise, it should be easy to see how his stint at Florida will likely go moving forward.
“That man, he’s going to be mad at me, he’s not the best-looking guy, but he knows what he’s talking about, though. He’s definitely brought a lot of swagger to the room. Definitely love joking with him. Just what he knows, he’s done a great job. He’s putting us in position.” - Gators LB Ventrell Miller on Bateman.
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