UF's Will Muschamp hires Jeff Choate

Florida coach Will Muschamp added to his coaching staff on Wednesday by announcing the hire of new special-teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach Jeff Choate.

Choate, a 21-year coaching veteran, served as Washington State's linebackers coach in 2012 before being named UTEP's defensive coordinator this spring.

“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 release through UF. “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.

“I would also like to thank everyone at UTEP, and most importantly Coach Kugler, for the support and opportunity they gave me. I wish him and the program nothing but the best of luck.”

With assistant defensive line coach Bryant Young's sudden resignation last week, Muschamp had room to hire another assistant. Since Brad Lawing was hired to coach the Gators' defensive line in January, finding a replacement for D.J. Durkin's old position as linebackers/special-teams coach appeared to be more of a priority.

(Durkin was promoted to defensive coordinator after Dan Quinn left to become the Seattle Seahawks' defensive coordinator in January.)

Choate brings 10 years of experience coaching either linebackers or special teams.

“We are excited to have Jeff Choate join our staff,” Muschamp said in a statement through UF. “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. He has coached on both sides of the ball and was most recently a defensive coordinator. 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.”