The final college head coaching position to open this offseason could be filled by one of the Florida Gators‘ top assistants. Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who just concluded his first season with the program, was interviewed by the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Wednesday and is considered a “very strong candidate for the job,” according to FootballScoop.com.
According to the Hattiesburg American, Nussmeier is one of a handful of coaches who were scheduled to interview with Southern Miss for the job, joining Golden Eagles defensive coordinator David Duggan, Alcorn State head coach Jay Hopson, TCU co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham and North Carolina defensive coordinator Gene Chizik.
Should Nussmeier ultimately get hired away from UF by Southern Miss, the Gators would have a different offensive coordinator for the fifth time in six seasons.
Dan Mullen departed after the national title season of 2008 for the Mississippi State head coaching job. Steve Addazio left along with Urban Meyer following the 2010 campaign and was hired as head coach of Temple. Charlie Weis became the head coach of Kansas after one year under Will Muschamp in 2011. Brent Pease was fired following an awful 2013 season, and Kurt Roper was not retained after Muschamp was canned in 2014.
The potential departure of Nussmeier would also hurt the staff continuity Florida head coach Jim McElwain has been hoping to build. After just one season, McElwain would be looking to hire two new assistants as the program already fired defensive backs coach Kirk Callahan earlier in January.
Nussmeier, who signed a three-year, $1.545 million deal with the Gators and earned $490,000 in 2015 as the team’s second-highest paid assistant, was the second hire made by McElwain after he took the Florida job. The two worked on the same staff at Michigan State under John L. Smith (2003-05) before Nussmeier succeeded McElwain twice as offensive coordinator first at Fresno State (2008) and then again at Alabama (2012-13).
It is unknown whether Nussmeier’s interview was in person in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, or otherwise, but he was on the road recruiting with the Gators as recently as Tuesday. Either way, should Nussmeier leave, Florida will be forced to answer some tough questions for recruits with National Signing Day approaching on Feb. 3.