Florida fires assistants Corey Raymond, Sean Spencer as Billy Napier reorganizes staff

By OnlyGators.com Staff
November 27, 2023
Florida fires assistants Corey Raymond, Sean Spencer as Billy Napier reorganizes staff

Image Credit: ESPN

Following a tumultuous season in which it was clear head coach Billy Napier needed to make changes to his staff, the Florida Gators on Monday fired co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Sean Spencer along with secondary coach Corey Raymond, sources confirmed to OnlyGators.com.

Raymond, considered one of the nation’s strongest recruiters, was the coup of Napier’s initial staff hirings as Florida plucked him away from LSU, which hoped to retain his services as he had coached and recruited for the Tigers since 2012. Not only that, Raymond was promoted from cornerbacks coach to secondary coach just this past offseason, given a raise of $30,000 with an additional year added to his contract.

The Gators fielded a young secondary that underperformed in 2023, but Raymond was thought to be doing well overall, and his recruiting was certainly on point. Generally a coach is not given more responsibility unless he is thought to be doing well. However, junior cornerback Jason Marshall III and freshman safety Jordan Castell were two notable players who appeared to regress as the season went on.

Five-star cornerback Xavier Filsaime (McKinney, TX), among the top three players committed in the Class of 2024, was shocked by the news, tweeting, “Man wth.”

Spencer was initially a co-coordinator alongside Patrick Toney but retained that role when Toney left for the Arizona Cardinals and Napier brought defensive coordinator Austin Armstrong aboard to lead the unit. The Gators defensive line appeared to be playing well under Spencer, which makes his release somewhat surprising unless it is part of a bigger undertaking regarding the staff shifting.

The Orlando Sentinel first reported the dismissals locally, while The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman shared further context in a national report. He contextualized the departures as follows: “Doubt they’ll be looking for work long. Both have been really highly regarded at the positions they coach.”

Current players, commitments and recruits were similarly surprised by the firings. As with any coaching changes, given the transfer portal and competitiveness of the recruiting cycle, this could affect Florida’s current and future roster.

While additional staff changes are expected to be imminent, Raymond and Spencer being the first departures is undoubtedly a surprise despite the poor performance of the defense over the second half of the season. Future hires and their respective roles, which could require certain staff positions be open in order for them to be acquired, may certainly clarify the situation.

It has long been thought that Napier would focus on shaking up his offensive staff given the offensive line, which has two assistants coaching the position, has been among the worst performers on the team. Napier Napier also needs to bring in both offensive play caller and special teams coordinator, which will require staff roles be adjusted. A shakeup in the strength & conditioning staff has also been theorized.

Raymond and Spencer join Toney, Keary Colbert and William Peagler as five Year 1 assistants that will no longer be part of the team in Year 3 under Napier.

OnlyGators.com will update this breaking news story shortly.

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