FAU HC Willie Taggart continues to bolster his coaching staff for the upcoming football season. Longtime Florida Gators WR Coach Billy Gonzales will join the Owls in the same role. Gonzales will take over for current WR Coach Hines Ward, who will likely become an assistant HC for FAU.
Source: FAU is hiring longtime SEC assistant Billy Gonzales as the school's new wide receivers coach. He worked 16 seasons in the SEC with Florida (twice), LSU and Mississippi State. He recruited Percy Harvin to Florida and sent numerous receivers to the NFL.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) March 1, 2022
Gonzales will inherit a strong WR core in LaJohntay Wester, Je’Quan Burton, and Javion Posey. However, with FAU losing team elders John Mitchell, TJ Chase, Willie Wright, Zaire Mitchell-Paden, and Brandon Robinson, it could be an uphill battle as the team looks to rebuild. Exiting WRs accounted for 11 of the team’s 18 receiving TDs by WR last year, so Gonzales will look to increase the underclassmen production as much as possible.
Gonzales had two stints with UF, from 2005-2009 under Urban Meyer, and from 2018-2021 under Dan Mullen. Gonzales followed Meyer to UF after both holding positions at Bowling Green and Utah. After leaving UF for the first time, Gonzales had time at LSU and Illinois as WR Coach before heading to Mississippi State under Mullen, whereafter they both ultimately returned to Gainesville.
Gonzales has long had success in his position before things eventually went sour when after the Gators’ disappointing 6-7 season last year. Throughout his tenure at UF, Gonzales has recruiting and shaped future-NFL star receivers in the likes of Percy Harvin, Kadarius Toney, and Van Jefferson.
This addition by Taggart has been already been lauded as a strong hire by FAU fans. Taggart has been making immense improvements to his coaching staff this offseason. FAU has already added former Kansas OC Brent Dearmon to the same role, former USC DC Todd Orlando to the same role, former UMass RB Coach Donte’ Pimpleton to the same role, former Miami Killian HC Derrick Gibson as safeties coach, former Georgia Southern HC Chad Lunsford as assistant HC and TE Coordinator.