Matt McCall has proven early in his career the value of hard work and connections.
A Florida graduate whose dad Wayne McCall played football with Steve Spurrier at Florida in the 1960s, McCall worked his way up from student manager to staff assistant before leaving for an assistant coaching job at Florida Atlantic.
Now, the 29-year-old McCall is back, making $100,000 as Florida’s third assistant coach.
“Part of that motivation of watching that extra game, making that extra phone call, or doing those things was to be able to get back here,” McCall said. “I was always in constant contact with Coach (Billy) Donovan. If we won a big game (at FAU), he would always text me congratulations.”
McCall adds an in-state recruiting presence that will complement Norm Roberts’ ties in the Northeast and John Pelphrey’s ties in the Southeast and Midwest.
“I had a lot of them even before going down there,” McCall said. “And I think for me, that’s why FAU was almost the perfect situation for me because I had a ton of contacts from team camp, guys being on campus, unofficial visits, me kind of being around and meeting people.
“And being down there, being in South Florida, there’s a good high school game every night. So developing more relationships down there, I think I can help Coach Roberts and Coach Pelphrey.”
McCall lured Gainesville natives Greg Gantt and Dennis Mavin to FAU. The two guards helped lead the Owls to a Sun Belt Conference regular season title and NIT appearance this past season.
Donovan has high expectations for McCall.
“I think for Matt being a young guy, he lives and breathes the profession, recruiting and what goes into it,” Donovan said. “And I think he understands the challenges he has as a coach coming into a situation, three coaches leaving, being the young guy that he’s going to have the work around the clock in a lot of ways.
“And that’s not to say that Norm and John aren’t going to help him. But he’s got to make an incredible investment with his time and energy for us to continue to take the next step as a program.”
McCall said he’s eager to try to live up to those expectations.
“I got that (Florida) logo on my shirt now,” McCall said. ” Not that I wasn’t working hard at FAU. But to be able every day to sit down and look at that logo, I’ve got to make one more phone call, I’ve got to watch one more videotape. I’ve got to keep working.”
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