- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Will Muschamp has decided to go with a special teams coordinator after all.
Muschamp announced the hiring of UTEP defensive coordinator Jeff Choate on Wednesday morning as the Gators’ special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach. He replaces Bryant Young, who resigned last week for personal reasons.
"He is a high-energy coach, an outstanding recruiter and evaluator, and has a reputation as one of the top special-teams coaches in the nation," Muschamp said in a statement. "He sees the big picture and will be a great addition to our staff.
"I got to know Jeff several years ago when I as at Texas and he was at Boise State. He visited Austin and we spent a lot of time talking defensive and special teams schemes. He also visited us in Gainesville last spring, and we are very much on the same page philosophically."
The Gators split up special teams duties in the spring because D.J. Durkin was promoted from linebackers coach/special teams coordinator to defensive coordinator after Dan Quinn resigned to become the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks. Young’s resignation, however, gave him an opportunity to bring the units under one person’s control.
Choate, who joined the UTEP staff after spending the 2012 season as the linebackers coach at Washington State, has been a special teams coordinator for nine seasons at Utah State (2003-05), Eastern Illinois (2005) and Boise State (2006-2011). Choate also coached running backs, linebackers and nickel backs at Boise State.
"I’m excited about the opportunity to join the Gator staff and have the chance to compete at the highest level," Choate said in a statement. "I’ve gotten to know Coach Muschamp over the past couple of years and have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a coach and a person. I’m looking forward to continuing the great special teams tradition that has been established here and can’t wait to get to work."