Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Feel for the Area JU Football Goes Local for Coaches

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Feel for the Area JU Football Goes Local for Coaches

Article excerpt

When Steve Gilbert accepted the position as Jacksonville

University's first football coach, he had a good idea whom he

wanted as his full-time assistant coaches.

Through various contacts, Gilbert assembled a staff with plenty

of experience at the Division IAA non-scholarship level.

But when it came down to selecting members for his part-time

staff -- those who would be position coaches -- Gilbert was

looking for a little different flavor. He wanted to fill some of

those spots with coaches who had ties to area high schools.

"Certainly, we had to hire some part-time coaches, and you do

that by guys that are already in Jacksonville," Gilbert said.

"We couldn't have hired any better."

What Gilbert and his staff came up with were quarterbacks coach

Billy McCann, receivers coach E.J. McKnight and linebackers

coach Rick Humphreys. McCann comes to the Dolphins after serving

as head coach at Englewood (1979-89) and First Coast (1993-96).

McKnight was the head coach at Forrest (1982-85) and Bolles


Humphreys was the latest addition, joining the JU staff this

summer after two years as the defensive coordinator at


McCann longed for the opportunity to coach at JU. After 27

years of high school coaching, McCann finally gets the

opportunity to show his offensive expertise on the collegiate


"I've always wanted to try to work on the next level," McCann

said. "The problem is I'm from the beach. My house is paid for

and three blocks from the ocean -- I'm not moving. I love it

down here.

"Now, the fact that the opportunity came to Jacksonville where

I could possibly do that if I had something to contribute, we

could do it and live here. This opportunity came where I could

have my cake and eat it, too."

As for McKnight, he is the coach who not only motivates, but

keeps things loose among the players. …

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