Gators announce two hires

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida has hired New Mexico special teams and outside linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler to fill the same role, head coach Will Muschamp announced Friday.

Hutzler replaces Jeff Choate, who coached at Florida for one season. Muschamp said Choate resigned to pursue other coaching opportunities.

"Coleman is a young coach with a very bright future," Muschamp said in a statement. "He has a great work ethic and obviously is very familiar with our special teams schemes. It will be a seamless transition for our players."

Hutzler, 29, coached at UNM for two seasons after spending the previous two seasons at Florida as a defense and special teams assistant, coaching under Urban Meyer in 2010 and Muschamp in 2011.

"I’m excited to be returning to Gainesville and be a part of the Gator family again," Hutzler said. "I enjoyed my time there and have the utmost respect for Coach Muschamp and the administrative team in place at Florida. I understand the value placed on special teams under Coach Muschamp, and look forward to getting to work."

In his two years at UF, Hutzler worked closely with D.J. Durkin, now the Gators' defensive coordinator. Their connection began at Stanford, where Hutzler and Durkin worked from 2007-09.

Hutzler was credited with immediately improving New Mexico's special teams in his first season. In net punting, the Lobos improved from 112th among FBS schools in 2011 to 25th in 2012 under Hutzler. His punt coverage unit also showed drastic improvement, from ranking 106th in 2011 to 19th in 2012. The Lobos also moved up the rankings in kickoff returns, from 70th to 24th.

The news was first reported by multiple media outlets on Thursday and confirmed by New Mexico on Thursday night.

"I want to thank Coleman for his contributions as we began to build this program," Lobos head coach Bob Davie said in a statement Thursday night. "He is a talented coach and I know he will continue to have success. I wish him the best of luck moving forward."

Muschamp also announced the hiring of director of player personnel Drew Hughes, who held the same title in overseeing NC State's recruiting operations last year.

"Drew will be a great asset to our program," Muschamp said. "He is extremely organized, and based on his experience, he has a very good understanding of how we operate and should fit right in."

Hughes replaces John Haskins, who resigned in October.

"I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work for Coach Muschamp and the University of Florida," Hughes said. "It will be great to get back to the state of Florida and the SEC -- the best conference in the nation. I’m very much looking forward to helping the Florida coaching staff attract student-athletes who will be champions both on and off the field."

Before joining the Wolfpack, Hughes was Central Florida’s director of player personnel. He also worked in Alabama's recruiting office from 2007-11.