Gators lose defensive coordinator to Seahawks

Gators lose defensive coordinator to Seahawks

Published Jan. 17, 2013 1:14 p.m. ET

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is moving on and linebackers coach D.J. Durkin is moving up.

Quinn, Florida’s defensive coordinator the past two seasons under head coach Will Muschamp, accepted an offer to return to the NFL on Thursday as Seattle’s defensive coordinator. Former Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was named head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Muschamp announced that Gators linebackers coach/special-teams coordinator D.J. Durkin is taking over as defensive coordinator. Durkin will continue to coach the linebackers in his new role.

Muschamp’s next move is to hire an assistant.

“I’m happy for Dan and this opportunity,” Muschamp said. “I’ve said before that I always encourage my staff when opportunities arise to take the next step in their career. Dan’s background is in the NFL and this is a great chance to go back to a place he’s familiar with.

“D.J. and I will run the defense, continuing the way that Dan and I did for the past two years,” Muschamp added. “We will look to add another coach that is the best fit for our staff moving forward.”

In Quinn’s two seasons at UF, Florida’s defenses finished ranked in the top 10 nationally both seasons, including fifth overall in 2012. Known for his heavy emphasis on teaching sound technique, Quinn helped players such as defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, defensive end Dominique Easley and true freshmen defensive linemen Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler Jr. make significant improvements in his time at UF.

Quinn is very familiar with the Seahawks. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as Seattle’s defensive line coach and was there when the Seahawks upset defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans in the 2010 NFL playoffs. He was a 49ers assistant for two seasons when Gators defensive line coach Bryant Young played for San Francisco.

Quinn spent 10 seasons as an NFL assistant before being lured to UF by Muschamp, whom he worked with for a season with the Miami Dolphins on Nick Saban’s staff in 2005.

As for Durkin, who turned 35 on Tuesday, he recently completed his third season on the Gators’ staff. He was hired by former coach Urban Meyer in 2010 and had led one of the nation’s top special-teams units the past three seasons along with his duties as linebackers coach.

Durkin started his coaching career as a graduate assistant on Meyer’s staff at Bowling Green in 2001 and later served stints as a defensive assistant at Notre Dame (2003-04), Bowling Green (2005-06) and Stanford (2007-09).

Durkin was a four-year starter at defensive end/linebacker at Bowling Green from 1997-2000 and was a team captain as a junior and senior.

He takes over a Gators unit that returns a mix of veterans and underclassmen, highlighted by starting cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson, Easley, Bullard and Fowler along the defensive line, and young linebackers Antonio Morrison, Michael Taylor and Neiron Ball.