February 12, 2013 4:50:47 PM
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State University football coach Dan Mullen is bringing another familiar face to his staff in Starkville.
Billy Gonzales, a former offensive coordinator at the University of Illinois, has been hired at MSU as wide receivers coach. The 41-year-old served as an offensive assistant coach on staffs with Mullen and then-head coach Urban Meyer at the University of Florida, University of Utah and Bowling Green State University.
Multiple sources inside the MSU football program confirmed Tuesday afternoon to The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog Billy Gonzales, a former offensive coordinator at the University of Illinois, had been hired at MSU as wide receivers coach. Gonzales, who will be entering his 18th year as a Division 1 college football assistant coach, was on the MSU campus Tuesday and is expected to be officially introduced by MSU administration this week and possibly as early as today.
"I hopefully take a bit of everyone I have had a chance to work with or played for or worked for. (LSU coach) Les Miles did a lot for me, showing me a different style," Gonzales said in an interview on the Big Ten Network in June. "Charley Molnar at UMass is a mentor of mine. Dan Mullen is another. It's hard to say that there has been just one or two. I appreciate all of them."
"Tim is a great recruiter and did do a good job," Mullen said on the Feb. 6th National Signing Day.
Brewster, who was fired as the head coach at the University of Minnesota in 2010 after leading the Golden Gophers program to a 15-30 record over four seasons, personally recruited at least four of the six receiver prospects MSU brought in to its 2013 recruiting class.
"One thing Tim brings us is being a head coach it kind of makes my life a little bit easier at times," Mullen said. "He knows what I'm going through and he knows the thought process and sometimes what the head coach is dealing with. Someone good to keep bouncing ideas off of and being there and help with the recruiting aspect of things."
According to a report from the Champaign (Ill.) News Gazette, Gonzales was officially forced off the staff of Illinois head coach Tim Beckman late Thursday after splitting offensive coordinator duties with Chris Beatty for the Fighting Illini program for one season in 2012. The Illini, who finished 2-10 in 2012, had the worst offense in the Big Ten Conference at just 16.7 points per game and 296.7 yards per game. The result of the offensive ineptitude in Beckman's first season with the Illini was Beatty being fired weeks after the season and Gonzales now ending up with the Bulldogs program under Mullen.
Gonzales, known as a superior recruiter, has Southeastern Conference experience not only at Florida but as the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator at Louisiana State University when the Tigers won the 2011 SEC championship and played for the Bowl Championship Series national championship.
Gonzales is the third new hire on the Bulldogs' staff since the end of the 2012 season. Former NFL player and assistant coach Deshea Townsend was brought in as MSU's cornerbacks coach in January to replace Melvin Smith after he left for the same position at Auburn University on Christmas Eve. Geoff Collins was promoted to defensive coordinator and David Turner will begin his second stint at MSU to coach the defensive line after former Bulldogs defensive coordinator Chris Wilson left Starkville to coach the defensive line at the University of Georgia.
UPDATED (WEDNESDAY 2:30 p.m.) Mississippi State University officially announced the hiring of Billy Gonzales Wednesday afternoon.
"I've had the chance to work with Billy and the opportunity to add him to our staff was one we couldn't pass up," MSU coach Dan Mullen said in the school's release. "His experience in developing receivers speaks for itself and he has consistently and relentlessly recruited top players at every stop of his career."
As The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog reported Tuesday afternoon, with Gonzales coaching the wide receivers, Tim Brewster will move to tight ends coach and add the title of Assistant Head Coach.
"Tim and I had several conversations about the possibility of moving him back to the position he's coached for 18 years at the college and NFL levels," Mullen said. "He did an outstanding job leading our wide receivers to their most productive season last year, and is a valuable asset to our staff and his flexibility and versatility as a coach are appreciated."
Scott Sallach will move into the role of Coordinator of Football Scouting.
Tony Hughes, who has coached safeties for the Bulldogs since Mullen's arrival in 2009 will also add the title of Assistant Head Coach.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage
3. Ho ho ho -- Downtown Open House heralds the holidays ENTERTAINMENT