NCF Nation: Bush Hamdan

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- One thing is clear in the wake of Joker Phillips' sudden departure from Florida on Wednesday: The Gators haven't had much luck with wide receivers coaches in recent years.

It's no coincidence that Florida hasn't had a wideout with more than 600 yards since Riley Cooper led the team with 961 yards in 2009. That was UF's last season of stability at a coaching position that has been turbulent ever since.

In 2009, Billy Gonzales ended a five-year run as Florida's wide receivers coach when he reportedly resigned with a sticky note that said, "I'm going to LSU."

Then-Florida head coach Urban Meyer replaced Gonzales with Central Michigan receivers coach Zach Azzanni, who only lasted one season. He was not retained when new head coach Will Muschamp took over for Meyer and assembled his staff in 2011.

Muschamp brought in former Gators standout Aubrey Hill, who coached one season before resigning amid allegations of involvement with improper benefits in his previous coaching job at the University of Miami.

Hill's departure came in August 2012, weeks before the season began.

"Aubrey informed me he was resigning for personal reasons that have nothing to do with the University of Florida," Muschamp said in a statement at the time.

Muschamp promoted graduate assistant Bush Hamdan to replace Hill and then hired Phillips after the 2012 season.

At the time, Phillips was quoted on the school's official website as saying, "I’m looking forward to contributing to the long-term vision that [Muschamp] has for this program."

Surely that vision wasn't one of nearly constant turnover, as Phillips left for "personal reasons" of his own.

With graduate assistant Chris Leak's promotion on Wednesday, Florida is on its sixth wide receivers coach in six seasons.

Perhaps that's why Muschamp made sure to mention Leak's standing, saying, "He is one of the all-time Gator greats and being at Florida is very important to him."

In promoting Leak, Muschamp is hoping the former star quarterback is ready to be a full-time assistant coach at the age of 29 and can bring the continuity that has been missing for so long.

Leak inherits a receiving corps largely comprised of talented youngsters who must be developed. Florida has six wide receivers entering their first or second season this fall.

When asked early in spring practice if this group is the most talented he's had in his three years at Florida, Muschamp said, "I don't think there's any question."

Now, after Phillips' departure, the unit and its inexperienced coach are surrounded by questions.

If the Gators are to rediscover their winning ways through the air, Leak and his receivers will have to factor in prominently. If they do that, perhaps Florida will have something as rare as a 1,000-yard receiver -- a wide receivers coach roaming the sidelines for a second season.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida coach Will Muschamp said he was surprised when receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill turned in his resignation on Thursday night, but it didn’t take him long to decide how he wanted to replace the former Gators receiver.

He immediately chose graduate assistant Bush Hamdan.

The former backup quarterback at Boise State came to UF in January with offensive coordinator Brent Pease, is intimately familiar with Pease’s offense and has experience coaching at the BCS level at Maryland. It was a no-brainer for Muschamp.

"He’s a very mature guy," Muschamp said after the Gators' first day of practice on Friday. "He’s an outstanding football coach. Bush has got a really great background with the offense. I feel very comfortable with that situation. I’m not at all worried. I never blinked."

After playing at Boise State from 2005-08, he spent a year at Colorado before becoming an offensive GA at Maryland in 2010 under Ralph Friedgen. When assistant coach James Franklin left to become the head coach at Vanderbilt at the end of the season, Hamdan coached the Terps’ quarterbacks in the bowl game.

Hamdan coached tight ends at Sacramento State in 2011 before joining UF’s staff when Muschamp hired Pease.

"Bush is very experienced and knows the offense terminology," Muschamp said. "He’s got a great rapport with our players. They’re disappointed (in Hill resigning) obviously, but fully embraced (Hamdan) this morning."

Hamdan will count as one of UF’s nine assistant coaches. His recruiting responsibilities have not been determined.

Muschamp said he would take over recruiting South Florida for Hill. He also said he would serve as UF’s recruiting coordinator.

"That title don’t mean a whole lot to me," Mushcamp said. "I’m the recruiting coordinator. I handle all of that. I recruit every player we have."