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Gators’ new strength coach Craig Fitzgerald leaves for Boston College

GAINESVILLE — Florida football coach Billy Napier is left to restructure the Gators’ strength program for the second time this offseason after Craig Fitzgerald departed for a similar position at Boston College.

He will join the staff of new BC coach Bill O’Brien, who worked with Fitzgerald at Penn State and the NFL’s Houston Texans.

“We understand that these decisions are part of the profession,” Napier said in a statement. “This game is about relationships and Coach O’Brien and Coach Fitz’s relationship goes way back.”

Fitzgerald was in Gainesville fewer than two months after Napier overhauled the Gators’ strength and nutrition programs, along with the defensive staff and personnel department, following a 5-7 season in 2023. Besides his time with O’Brien, Fitzgerald worked for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina (2009-11) and most recently for the New York Giants.

Fitzgerald replaced Mark Hocke, who earns $750,000 and will now serve in a role involving player development, messaging and motivation. Hocke is unlikely to return to his previous position.

Fitzgerald also helped lure nutritionist Jake Sankal to Gainesville after eight seasons in the NFL with Washington.

“We’ve got two experts,” Napier said last week of Fitzgerald and Sankal. “I’m a firm believer that’s where the game is headed. It’s all about the development piece in terms of the player experience and what we can offer the player.”

Napier hired Fitzgerald in December, but with spring practices on the horizon he will have to find someone else to head a key facet of his program.

“I want to thank Fitz for doing a great job during the five weeks he’s been at Florida,” Napier said. “He’s a very professional and well-respected individual and has been a great resource for our players and our organization. We’ll regroup and we’ll evaluate the situation and make another great decision for our team.”

Edgar Thompson can be reached at egthompson@orlandosentinel.com