Who’s next? Here are 15+ candidates to replace ousted Florida coach Will Muschamp

By Adam Silverstein
November 16, 2014

Updated on Monday at 11:13 a.m.

For the third time in his tenure at the helm of the Florida Gators‘ University Athletic Association, athletic director Jeremy Foley will be tasked with hiring a new head football coach, this after dismissing Will Muschamp (27-20, 17-15 SEC) on Sunday.

A Gators program that has reached lows not previously seen since the late 1970s is in need of a major boost, and Foley will be searching for a coach to get Florida back to its position of dominance in the state, Southeastern Conference and nation.

What characteristics will Foley likely be looking for as he makes this hire? Head coaching experience, for one; UF’s most successful football hires have held the position before, albeit at less-prestigious schools. Foley will also want a “name” coach, one that excites boosters, fans and the recruiting base as the Gators look to make up major ground following consecutive seasons of mediocrity. Lastly, Foley may desire an offensive-minded coach, though one that is balanced and successful will certainly do.

Here are 15+ coaches who could be leading the Florida football program in 2015.

Gary Patterson
Head coach, TCU

Hire him: Patterson, 54, has spent the last 17 years leading the Horned Frogs, serving as defensive coordinator from 1998-2000 and head coach from 2001-present. He has been at the helm of the program as it has progressed into its fourth conference this century but has found a way consistently recruit well and dominate his competition despite being the third- or fourth-most distinguished school in his state. Patterson’s streaks of success have been significant. He went 21-4 from 2002-03 in Conference USA, 22-3 from 2005-06 in the Mountain West and 47-5 during his final four seasons in the MWC (2008-2011), leading TCU to back-to-back BCS bowls (2009-10). After spending two years getting adjusted to the Big 12, Patterson’s Horned Frogs are presently 9-1 and one of the top four teams in the College Football Playoff. He has proven coaching talent and ability to lead a program but has yet to have the opportunity to do so at a major institution.

Hold up: A Kansas State alumnus, many believe Patterson would like to return to his alma mater once Bill Snyder, 75, decides to retire. Past that, Patterson is very much a defensive-minded coach, though he has understood the importance of offense and TCU’s attack is currently ranked fifth nationally, scoring 45.9 points per game in 2014.


Bob Stoops
Head coach, Oklahoma

Hire him: The top name that comes up when the Gators have a vacancy, Stoops has ties to the program as a former defensive coordinator under Steve Spurrier. Since leaving Florida in 1998, Stoops has been head coach at Oklahoma, a position he’s held for 16 seasons and is in no danger of losing. Stoops has racked up a 167-52 record at OU with double-digit wins in 12 seasons; he also has eight Big 12 titles and one national championship, though that was won in 2000. The Sooners have been back to the title game thrice since (2003-04, 2008).

Hold up: Stoops has already turned down Foley on at least one occasion for the opportunity to return to the Gators. His Oklahoma teams are infamous for failing to meet expectations and falling short in big games. Stoops also already has the Sooners program being run his way without the need to teach new systems, recruit his type of players or hire an entire staff. There is also a long-held belief that Stoops would only leave Oklahoma to take a shot at coaching in the NFL, a scenario that could potentially remain in the back of his mind even if he does get offered and accept the Florida job. Also: “All I want to be is a candidate at Oklahoma,” he said Monday. I’m not a candidate anywhere else. I’m finished with that question.”

Chip Kelly
Head coach, Philadelphia Eagles

Hire him: Salivating yet? Kelly is the ideal hire for the Gators. He’s relatively young (50), extremely innovative and an offensive-minded coach who has done nothing but succeed as a leader in the locker room. Consider this: in six seasons at Oregon (2009-12) and Philadelphia (2013-14), Kelly’s overall record is 63-15, and eight of those losses are at the NFL level where he is coaching for the first time in his career. Kelly never won a national title with the Ducks but is still seen as a better fit for the college game despite his success with the Eagles. He could turn Florida around in a jiffy, and his return to the college ranks would be lauded as a huge coup for Foley and the Gators. Oh, and that show-cause penalty he got while at Oregon? It expires at the end of this season.

Hold up: There are no reservations about Kelly in particular. In fact, the only issues are that he is already leading one of the NFL’s premier franchise and being paid like it, to the tune of $6.5 million per season. Florida could match the take-home pay of that salary by offering Kelly $6 million per year (no state income tax), but the Gators would likely have to go higher and truly shell out the big bucks. Nick Saban is being paid $6.9 million per season; Florida might have to go to $7 million for Kelly. It’s a lot of money but the reward would be high if he actually decided to make the move back to college.

Gus Malzahn
Head coach, Auburn

Hire him: The hottest name in coaching over the last few seasons, Malzahn was a high school head coach as recently as 2005 but has since exploded onto the scene due to his bright offensive mind and ability to lead a program. He went from Arkansas offensive coordinator in 2006 to holding the same position at Tulsa (2007-08) and then Auburn (2009-11) before making the tough decision to leave the Tigers for a head coaching gig at Arkansas State. When Gene Chizik was fired, Auburn knew exactly who to call; Malzahn returned and shocked the world by leading the Tigers to a 12-2 record and national title game appearance in his first season with the program in 2013.

Hold up: Auburn’s offense is still explosive but the team has come back down to Earth in 2014 with a 7-3 record and all of those losses coming in AU’s last five games. The Tigers also have major issues on defense, so Foley would have to require Malzahn to hire a supremely talented coordinator to man that side of the ball. All of this, of course, is assuming Malzahn would leave Auburn for Florida. The pros? The Tigers are a second-tier SEC team historically and fighting it out with Alabama (and LSU and others) every season for the SEC West crown is not ideal. The cons? Malzahn is said to be extremely loyal. His family is comfortable at Auburn and despite the program being a second-class citizen in his own state, it is still one of the best in the country. It is more likely that Malzahn hires Muschamp as his defensive coordinator than him leaving the Tigers for the Gators.

Todd Graham
Head coach, Arizona State

Hire him: You know who is just as successful in the state of Arizona right now with less baggage than Rodriguez? Graham may only have a 75-40 heading coaching record, but the Texas native is seen as an up-and-coming coach who is making major headway in his third season leading the Sun Devils. While at Tulsa, Graham led the Golden Hurricane to three conference titles. He also went 10-4 at ASU in 2013 and has Arizona State (at 8-2) on pace for another 10-win season, depending on the outcome of its regular-season finale at Arizona and bowl game. He has coached and recruited well at multiple stops and even had the presence of mind to hire Malzahn (as his offensive coordinator at Tulsa) and Mike Norvell (at ASU, who UF apparently tried to poach last offseason).

Hold up: Like others on this list, Graham is a defensive coach first, but his teams’ offensive successes cannot be understated. The biggest black eye on Graham is that he’s a notorious job-hopper as he left Pittsburgh in the lurch following a 6-6 season in 2012 when Arizona State came calling. He has also departed other jobs suddenly and without warning. ESPN.com‘s Marc Schlabach referred to Graham as the “King of Liars,” and numerous Panthers players spoke out in anger following Graham’s departure. Though he was more revered by his players upon leaving, Meyer also had a similar bugaboo attached to him after he went from job to job before landing at Florida.

Rich Rodriguez
Head coach, Arizona

Hire him: A dynamic offensive mind who has shown the ability to recruit the state of Florida well throughout his career as a head coach, Rodriguez is having major success in his second season with the Wildcats. Arizona has defeated Pac-12 kingpin Oregon in each of the last two seasons and is currently 8-2 after consecutive 8-5 seasons following his taking over of the program in 2012. Rodriguez led West Virginia to a 32-5 record, with two BCS bowl appearances, in his final three seasons at the school and is itching for the opportunity to take over another top-tier institution and put his talent to the test.

Hold up: Between his stops at WVU and Arizona, Rodriguez failed mightily at Michigan, going 15-22 in three seasons before being canned by the Wolverines. Rodriguez also committed five “major [NCAA] rules violations” for practicing his players more than is allowed. Florida does not look kindly upon rules-violators and props up its compliance as one of the best in the nation following the dismissal of Galen Hall back in 1989, so the concept of bringing Rodriguez on board would likely give Foley major pause. Rodriguez’s falling out with Michigan was about much more than the on-field product, and the last thing UF wants is someone to come in and ruffle feathers among administrators.

Hugh Freeze
Head coach, Ole Miss

Hire him: Freeze is winning…at Ole Miss. Freeze is recruiting…at Ole Miss. Freeze is in just his third head coaching job…at Ole Miss. Though there is not an abundance of high-level success, Freeze, 45, is personable and energetic and seen by many as one of the brightest young coaches in the game. Following the Malzahn model of first succeeding as a high school coach, Freeze took over as a position coach at Ole Miss (2005-07) before accepting his first head coaching job at Lambuth (2008-09), where he went 12-1 in his second season. Freeze joined Arkansas State as an offensive coordinator (2010) before taking over the program in 2011 and leading it to a 10-2 record. That’s when he was hired by the Rebels. After a couple of mediocre seasons, a tremendous 2013 recruiting class (top-five nationally, which is unheard of in Oxford) has helped Freeze and Ole Miss achieve an 8-2 record in the tough-as-nails SEC West this season. He’s offensive-minded, has experience running a program and can obviously recruit, except…

Hold up: …questions have been raised about Freeze’s recruiting methods, though all accusations are completely unsubstantiated at this time. Also, though Southern Mississippi is his alma mater, Freeze was born and raised in Oxford. He is currently the head coach of his hometown team, which is playing well, being built under his vision and competes in the best conference (and division) in all of college football. He has little reason to leave the Rebels outside of pure ambition to lead one of the top programs in the country, though sometimes that is enough for a coach to make a tough decision.

Jim McElwain
Head coach, Colorado State

Hire him: Bringing on Saban’s former defensive coordinator at LSU did not work, so what about his former offensive coordinator at Alabama? McElwain spent three years under Saban at UA from 2008-11, directing a Crimson Tide offense that won back-to-back national titles and upset the Gators in the 2009 SEC Championship. He has quickly built up a Colorado State team that was at the bottom of the Mountain West when he took over in 2012 into a 9-1 program that is in contention for the Group of 5 bid in a major bowl game. McElwain also has NFL experience, spending the 2006 season as a quarterbacks coach in Oakland.

Hold up: A native of Montana who has no ties to the state of Florida, McElwain would not a “sexy” hire, at least not to the groups that the Gators are looking to satisfy. Though he has experience coaching at Alabama and leading his own program at Colorado State, he is not the “sure thing” that Foley may be looking for with this hire. McElwain also has a $7.5 million buyout at CSU, which may be somewhat of a deterrent for UF. There are workarounds for buyouts, however, so it should not count out McElwain by any means.

Doc Holliday
Head coach, Marshall

Hire him: A tremendous recruiter who served as Florida’s assistant head coach and safeties coach under Meyer from 2005-07, Holliday was expected to be named the next head coach of West Virginia in 2008 when Rodriguez left WVU for Michigan. Instead, the former Mountaineers linebacker was offered a lateral position at his alma mater and decided to leave Florida anyway. Holliday took over as head coach at Marshall in 2010; after spending three years building the program, Holliday’s Herd went 10-4 in 2013 and is currently 10-0, one of only two still-undefeated FBS teams nationally.

Hold up: Like McElwain, Holliday does not have a sparkling resume with limited head coaching experience and all of it at a lower-tier program.

Mike Shanahan
Unemployed

Hire him: Like Stoops, Shanahan has been offered the Florida job before and turned it down. Like Stoops, Shanahan has a connection to the Gators as Florida’s offensive coordinator from 1980-83. Unlike Stoops, Shanahan is currently unemployed and at 62 could have another decade of coaching left. He also has a pedigree with 18 years served as an NFL head coach and two Super Bowl titles (plus another as an offensive coordinator) to show for it. Shanahan is friends with Foley and was even around the Gators’ program this past offseason as he spoke to the team.

Hold up: Shanahan has not coached in either of the last two seasons and has only worked in four of the last eight years (Washington, 2010-13). He has never been a college head coach and was last employed by a university in 1983. Even if Shanahan wants to return to coaching, what kind of commitment would he have to doing all of the smaller, annoying things that come with a college job, such as recruiting, meeting with boosters, participating in speaking engagements and the like? Does he have the patience to develop players just out of high school? Would he want to move back to Gainesville after spending the last 30 years of his life in major cities? There are more questions than answers when it comes to Shanahan, but his connection to the program and Foley cannot be ignored.

Greg Schiano
Unemployed

Hire him: Schiano was believed to be on Foley’s short list, behind Muschamp, as he looked to replace Meyer during the 2010 season. Ultimately, Foley got Muschamp and Schiano remained at Rutgers in 2011 before moving on to the NFL and Tampa Bay in 2012. While with the Scarlet Knights, Schiano led the program to unprecedented success (11-2 in 2006) and was seen as a top talent, which is why he got the opportunity to jump to the professional ranks a few years later. A defensive coordinator at Miami for two seasons (1999-2000), Schiano also had plenty of success recruiting the state of Florida, a trait he took with him when he got the Rutgers job and could reclaim with the Gators.

Hold up: During his final five seasons at the state university of New Jersey, Schiano compiled just a 38-26 record. His next two seasons with the Buccaneers, Schiano went 11-21. He is known to be bristly and hot-tempered, and his defensive-minded approach is exactly what Florida is looking to go away from with this hire. Schaino may have been a candidate for the Gators a few years ago, but it would be a surprise if he’s the answer this time around.

David Cutcliffe
Head coach, Duke

Hire him: Though Cutcliffe has never had an opportunity at a top coaching job, he’s certainly flashed at his two stops. He led Ole Miss for six seasons, posting a 10-3 record in 2003 and only left the program one year later when the Rebels demanded he fire his entire staff following a 4-7 finish. He refused. It also took Cutcliffe a while to turn around Duke, but he did in 2013 and is now 18-6 over his last two seasons at a former bottom-feeder in the ACC. He has the offensive chops and head coaching experience but has never had an opportunity to recruit in a hotbed and take over a team like Florida that is already filled with talent. Plus, his friend and former offensive coordinator Kurt Roper is already in Gainesville.

Hold up: No one knocked down Cutcliffe’s door after Duke’s great 2013 campaign, and he is no spring chicken. The 60-year-old Alabama native also turned down an opportunity to take over the Tennessee program in 2010 and has made a commitment to the Blue Devils even as he earns a paltry $1.5 million per season (considering his success). The Gators are not the Vols, however, and if Florida has interest, Cutcliffe may be able to be swayed.

Dan Mullen
Head coach, Mississippi State

The skinny: Mullen is undoubtedly having success leading the Bulldogs in 2014, but he was 36-28 overall before this season and was 2-21 against top 25 opponents with 15-straight losses to such teams entering 2014. Foley’s disagreements with other coaches are overblown, but he and Mullen did not get along during the latter’s tenure as the Gators’ offensive coordinator under Meyer. Mullen has a relatively good thing going at Mississippi State and is in line for both a raise and increased job security. He is not a serious candidate for the job despite the easy direct line drawn between him and Florida because of his previous position with the team.

Mike Gundy
Head coach, Oklahoma State

The skinny: He’s a man. He’s forty…seven. He’s also brought the Cowboys to unprecedented success with a combined 23-3 record in 2010-11 with a BCS bowl appearance in the latter season. Gundy has shown an ability to recruit and put together explosive offenses, and his 10 years of head coaching experience are nothing to sneeze at. However, Gundy is an Oklahoma native currently coaching his alma mater. Oklahoma State’s largest booster – T. Boone Pickens – believes in Gundy and will match any salary offered. Gundy flirted with Tennessee and a move to the SEC but ultimately stayed put. There’s also the allegations of serious NCAA violations purported by Sports Illustrated just one year ago. The Cowboys have not been found to have conducted themselves in appropriately by the NCAA but the amount of smoke may be too much for the Gators.

Mark Stoops
Head coach, Kentucky

The skinny: Stoops was an inspired hire for the Wildcats, and his addition is playing dividends for a program that has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the beasts of the SEC. Stoops is recruiting well and has Kentucky bought in that it can develop and sustain a thriving football program, but it has not happened yet. The Wildcats were 2-10 under Stoops in a throw-out 2013 season but are just 5-6 in 2014 with five-straight losses including three blowouts to LSU (41-3), Georgia (63-31) and Tennessee (50-16). Kentucky played Florida hard in a loss, as well as both South Carolina (45-38 win) and Mississippi State (45-31 loss), but the returns on Stoops are not there yet to determine whether or not he would be a good fit for a team in need of a sure thing.

OTHER NAMES / COORDINATOR POSSIBILITIES

Ruffin McNeill, head coach, East Carolina
Mark Hudspeth, head coach, Louisiana-Lafayette
Justin Fuente, head coach, Memphis
Matt Wells, head coach, Utah State

Head coaching experience should be paramount to Foley’s hire but here are some hot coordinators that could also be considered to replace Muschamp

Chad Morris, offensive coordinator, Clemson
Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator, Michigan State
Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator, Alabama

DOUBTFUL AT BEST

Steve Spurrier, head coach, South Carolina: For all the reasons Spurrier could be convinced to take the Florida job, click here. On Sunday, he said he would not be making the move. “I have already had my run at Florida,” he said. “They need to hire a coach that hopefully will be there 10 years. Spurrier’s right, but you never, ever know with the Head Ball Coach.

Art Briles, head coach, Baylor: The Texas native and Texas Tech alumnus has never played or coached anywhere but in Texas. He has Baylor rolling along and is getting paid nearly $4.2 million per season. Why leave?

Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks: Though he succeeded under Muschamp, Quinn has always been an NFL coach. He was a candidate – and the preferred hire – for the Cleveland job last season but was unable to interview due to him taking Seattle to the Super Bowl. He has no head coaching experience and should get that opportunity on a professional level.

Charlie Strong, head coach, Texas: There are a lot of schools you leave for an opportunity to coach at Florida; Texas is not one of them. Strong was passed over by the Gators on two separate occasions and though calling it “bad blood” is vastly overstated, there is some unhappiness there. It’s just not going to happen.

Jim Harbaugh, head coach, San Francisco 49ers: Harbaugh and the 49ers are expected to part ways after this season, and he is a candidate to return to college…but he’s also a candidate to take another NFL job. Miami Dolphins owner and Michigan alumnus Stephen Ross is enthralled with Harbaugh and would push him to either job (though neither is open at this time).

Kliff Kingsbury, head coach, Texas Tech: Fans like Kingsbury because he’s young (35) and they feel he shares some qualities with Meyer. The truth is that Kingsbury is nowhere near as whole of a coach as Meyer, and his Red Raiders are currently 3-7 after going 8-5 during his first season at the helm of the program. Plus, he is a former Texas Tech quarterback from New Braunfels who is making $3.1 million per season in his home state.

Dana Holgorsen, head coach, West Virginia: A long-time friend of Brady Ackerman (who was actually hired by Holgorsen when he took the WVU job before deciding to remain in Gainesville), Hologorsen is lauded for the offenses he led as a coordinator at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State. When the Mountaineers hired him and they were playing in the Big East, Holgorsen looked like a genius with a 10-3 record and Orange Bowl berth. Since then? WVU is 17-18 while playing in the Big 12.

Lane Kiffin, offensive coordinator, Alabama: LOL

82 Comments

  1. Sean says:

    Outside of maybe Kelly, nobody on this list excites me. I think we definitely need an offensive coach as we always play good defense at UF.

  2. SaraGator says:

    LOL @ LOL

  3. Ken (CA) says:

    While this isn’t a “make or break” thing for Foley, considering his track record and incredible history of success, I do believe that this is arguably the most important hiring decision he will make in his entire tenure. He is 62 now, and if he makes a good decision, the coach will likely long past the time he chooses to retire. If he makes a poor decision, despite all of his success, his legacy will be severely tarnished

  4. Marques says:

    I really, really wish we would have gone after Strong last year. Seems like we’ve wasted this season and now are floating in no mans lands looking for a coach.

    Adam, your Lane Kiffin analysis is right on. Love it. Lol.

    Thanks for the list!

  5. Josh says:

    I think it’s pretty exciting. A lot of names on that list would be big splashes, especially Stoops or Malzahn

  6. Kakid says:

    Some others who would be interesting. Jim Tressel, Ed Orgeron, Dana Holgersen, Jack Del Rio.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      Why? Tressel got kicked out because of cheating and lying, Del Rio was a complete failure as a head coach, Orgeron was a bust as a head coach in the SEC, Those suggesting Cutcliffe, same thing…

      • Oldflyer says:

        Orgeron turned USC’s season around after Kiffen was fired. He was a favorite of the team, as well as much of the fan base for the HC job; but he is a little too rough around the edges for Pat Haden and the LA crowd. There were a lot of pissed off little folks after he was passed over.

        He is “different” but he can coach.

        There will be a lot of heavy breathing in the Gator Nation for a “big name” but more than likely it will be an up and comer. I am sure that Foley will be very careful. Or maybe he is just sick of the drama and will go do something else, and let someone else worry. I would.

        • Ken (CA) says:

          OC is very different than head coach, as we just learned with our DC. As a head coach, Orgeron failed miserably and his recruiting was abysmal

  7. Dr Leo Spaceman says:

    The new coach will of course want to bring his own staff, but T. Robinson, Lawing, and Summers are all assistants I would be happy to have retained. Meyer kept Strong, so its happened before.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      Two of the top recruits that we are after, Byron Cowart and CeCe Jefferson both said the coaching change won’t stop them from keeping interest as UF is big time school and they know they will bring in someone good, even though it is a negative, but they also said Lawing staying would be big for both of them as they had great relationship with him. Martez Ivey is still Keeping UF in his list as well.

      • Dr Leo Spaceman says:

        Yes, I have the internet.

        But my point was less about recruits and more about retaining good overall coaches whose units were not problems or had showed improvement. There are good coaches on this staff and the incoming head coach should at least consider them.

        • Ken (CA) says:

          Yep, I get it. just trying to inject some hope, especially considering those are 3 of the top 10 recruits in the country, still having us at or near top of list even knowing coaching change is imminent, of which they couldn’t have been very surprised over the way the season has played out, part of why Ivey is supposedly now leaning Auburn rather than UF, but we are still very much in the action. Get a solid name in there with confidence and could still salvage a potential very good class

  8. Tyler says:

    CAN WE STOP WITH CHIP KELLY TALK IT WON’T HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. ??? says:

    What about Kirby Smart??? I kid, I kid.

  10. Ken (CA) says:

    Interesting stuff from Spurrier, I hadn’t seen comments from him prior to this today. You forgot to link in your “link here”, though.

    I don’t really have any issue with a defense-first coach, I really don’t think that is the issue. I think WM issue was “defense only” and overly conservative 3 yards and a cloud of dust philosophy that has been proven antiquated and no longer sustainable in today’s game long before WM was hired (Just look at the irrelevance of the Big 10 for the last 30 years while the SEC has moved from that game to the modern game and had tremendous success).

    Chip Kelly certainly sounds like the “sexy” choice on the list, but if the Eagles make it to playoffs, he likely won’t be available for a very long time and that will kill recruiting even more than it is right now.

    Brian Kelly isn’t listed, and ND isn’t the elite school it used to be, he might have some consideration in lower academic standards and an easier talent pool of recruits than having to go around the country so much.

    I live in Bay area, and I hadn’t heard HArbaugh is planning to cut and run from the Niners after this year, so that would definitely be a very interesting choice.

    In your list,

    Chip Kelly/Bob Stoops/Stan Gundy seem like the best hiring “coups”, also nice catch on Hedspeth and Fuente who are 2 definite up and comers that will be coaching big time somewhere in the next couple of years.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Good call on Stan Gundy, Ken. I didn’t notice him on the list but I’m sure he’d make a hell of a football coach.

    • scott says:

      I live in the Bay area also, and don’t know where you’ve been but the Niners ditching Harbaugh has been all the talk for months. He and the GM don’t get along and supposedly the front office hates him. In the last 2 weeks the SF chron has had numerous articles with interviews about him losing the locker room. Jerry Rice Dana Stubblefield and other niner greats are all on the record that from talking with veterans on the team they cant stand and don’t want to play for him. I seriously doubt that Foley would consider him, the rumors from his tenure at Stanford were about the same. He and the AD had problems along with the admin who frequently butted heads over Harbaugh’s constant complaints about lowering the entrance standards. He also wasn’t to popular with the players.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Just looked at the list again. You meant the Okla St Gundy. Got it.

  11. Matt says:

    What about Jon Gruden? Or is he making a ton doing what he is doing currently? I think I recall him coming to talk with the team a few years ago and he seemed to like Florida. Just a thought on another name….

    • Michael Jones says:

      Good call if he can handle all of the other stuff that goes with coaching college football (i.e. recruiting, alumni, Foley, Machen, and all the other BS).

  12. Lee says:

    Graham, McElwain and Holliday all look promising

  13. Mike Harwood says:

    All of Gator nation needs to send Charlie Strong a note apologizing for whatever slight we may have committed and beg him to come back Florida.

    • Oldflyer says:

      What a load of BS. Charlie Strong needs was owed nothing by UF. UF paid him very well, and gave him a nice resume to present to the community.

      Now, he better worry about winning a few more games at UT. Losing seasons are not what he was hired to produce.

    • Bill says:

      No thanks

  14. Mike The Red says:

    Jim McElwain and Doc Holliday are my choices. Both have had college level success turning programs around. Florida would be a step up for both.

    • SaraGator says:

      McElwain is interesting. He seems to be an up and coming head coach – solid resume including OC for Alabama. They beat us in ’08.

  15. Joonas says:

    “Lane Kiffin, offensive coordinator, Alabama: LOL”

    Thank you

  16. Michael Jones says:

    Mullen is the natural hire and easily the best choice. He knows Florida, he knows the SEC, he’s done so much more with so much less (including owning Freeze). It takes awhile to turn around the culture at a place like Miss St, and he did, and that he lost to ranked teams along the way in the tough SEC west doesn’t phase me. I could throw in a lot of other statistics that cast him in a much more favorable light than the only statistic which ever seems to be posted here–which is his record against ranked teams coming into this year–but I won’t waste my time.

    Not surprised that he and Foley don’t get along. Speaks well of Mullen. Foley seems to favor a certain kind of a–hole anyway, and Mullen definitely doesn’t fit that mold. And given his comments about winning “not being fun” here (that Chip Kelley is even on this list shows how self-deluded we are), I doubt that he’d come if asked. Bob Stoops is the kind of arrogant pr–k that I’m sure Foley would chum right up to, so maybe that’ll work, but I believe that his best coaching days are behind him.

    We should have hired Mullen over Muschamp when we had the chance but it’s probably too late now and I can’t say that I blame him.

    As for Foley, I’m not as impressed with him as many of you are. Yeah, our athletic department school-wide has done pretty well, especially in the warm weather sports, but why shouldn’t it? This state is crawling with talent and the school sells itself.

    I expect Foley to continue to handpick the wrong guy without giving any consideration to what anybody else thinks, and while he caught lightning in a bottle once with Meyer (another arrogant pr–k), I doubt it will happen again. So, while I disagree that the list doesn’t have any exciting prospects (I don’t know what you people expect. . there was a lot of talent on that list, starting with Dan Mullen), I am not optimistic about being excited about the next hire.

    • Russ Fullwood says:

      I expect Foley to continue to handpick the wrong guy without giving any consideration to what anybody else thinks, and while he caught lightning in a bottle once with Meyer

      …………….
      Foley didn’t hire Meyer.that came down from the Prez of Univ of Florida he was the one that got Meyer hired at Utah so far as im concern Foley id o-fer in hiring 0-2 Muschamp & Zook.I Think Foley should be canned to 4 coaches in 15 years to me is hardly a lucrative job

  17. Daniel M. says:

    I give Roper about a 10% chance of being at UF next year.

  18. Ric says:

    Chip or Harbaugh are the only ones that excite IMO, but probably not realistic. Please not stoops or rich rod. Joe Moglia from too small a school?

  19. Matthew says:

    Pass the crack pipe, please….

  20. W2 says:

    Great read. But I think Charlie wouldn’t come to the SEC cause comments about he being a black Coach with a white wife in the SEC.

    • I_Am_Gator says:

      Really? Of all the reasons why Charlie wouldn’t come to the SEC, although he has already coached in the SEC but not a HC, is because he is married to a white woman. Are you suggesting that it’s OK for him to be a coordinator in the SEC, but not a HC because of the color of his wife’s skin?

  21. joaqui says:

    I think the most important thing we do is support what ever decision Foley makes. I think we are in a great position to make a run at what ever coach Foley goes after. I really like us making a move before Michigan. We already have a head start on Michigan which, I believe is going to be our biggest rival towards a top level coach. Who ever we get, hopefully he is named within the next 3 weeks.

    I really don’t think Chip Kelly is going to be the next Florida coach. I just don’t understand why he would leave philly. If I was Foley, I would offer him the barn bc I believe he was the best college coach in Oregon (better than saban) .

  22. CFg8r says:

    Adam, how long have you had this article written up just waiting to be published? Before or after the LSU game? Be honest 😉

  23. Kaleb Wolfe says:

    Gus Malzahn…please she’ll out whatever it takes to get him, u promise you that he will have us in the SEC Championship Game by year 2. Get him now because once Spurrier retires he will be considered the honest to God best offensive mind left at the “College” Level. He will fit perfectly like a glove here at UF , he will truly utilize QB Treon Harris to the best of his abilities while transfoming Treon Harris into the next Nick Marshall. He’s also a proven recruiter & alway will give Saban fits. At UF he will consistlely bring in top recruiting classes & the Defense will be talented enough to keep up with his offense. I also think he’d love to get out of the “Group of Death” being the SEC West & into a much more winnable SEC East Division that will probably have Tennessee as the favorite to win it. I’m Serious about UT. So Please shell out atleast $6 million if you want a true big time home run hire who could actually improve this season’s recruiting class once announced as the next great Offensive Genius head ball coach of the Florida Gators. He fills all the criteria head coach check offensive minded check knows the SEC check won the SEC & came very close to winning the National Title last season. Infact I’d give him & Cam Newton all the credit for defeating Oregon in the 2010 national championship. Look the bottom line is this if you are in the SEC & win the championship or only have one loss after 12 games you’re in the Final Four trust me he’ll get us there on a consistent basis. This hire has to be a statement maker regardless I believe the future for this program is at a crossroads & if we make the wrong hire we it will have major repercussions for many many years to come. So swing for the fences Foley & find a coach that fits/ utilizes the skill set particularly at quarterback that has already been put in place this season. Please find a way to get Gus. P.S. He”ll never leave us for the pro’s either he’s a college coach all the way……

    • Bill says:

      Auburn won’t let him get away. We won’t be able to outbid them

      • Kaleb Wolfe says:

        Well we do make more annually we do recieve 20% of all Gatorade Sales that’s a lot cash plus we are the epicenter of recruiting world but if it did come down just to a straight bidding war we’d easily win look we rank #5 in the country in revenue sales while Texas takes the stop spot and I know auburn isn’t even in the top 10 so if it was just a question of money then no question if we really wanted him we’d could easily outbid auburn very easily, look we are about to pay a muschamp close to $6 million just to step down so yeah I think we could yank him out of Saban’s shadow up there in Alabama. Also I’ve heard his wife hates Aurburn or at the very least would far much prefer a state with 2 bodies of water with beaches almost equally the same direction in both places being of course the Altantic & gulf coast beaches.

        • Steven says:

          I hope your right, but I agree that it just isn’t happening.

          It so easy to pick out the lame message board rumors.
          “His wife is unhappy in Auburn”
          Yaaaaa…..OK

  24. MAR says:

    I want to see someone with Gator blood take the helm. Someone who coaches with passion and Gator pride. Any coach could use UF for big money, spotlight or name recognition and just want to win because it is their job. I know there is not a young Spurrier out there, at least at first glance, but what about one of his protégés? This is why I like Brian Schottenheimer, Kerwin Bell, or any other current coach who learned under Spurrier and may be an option. I would love to see Chris Leak stay in the loop as I think he has future HC written all over him. I guarantee that when he gets his first gig as a HC, he will succeed and quickly become a hot name.

    • Kaleb Wolfe says:

      Speaking of Leak as a future head coach one day is an interesting thought. I also could easily see Tim Tebow in coaching though he’s so good on TV as an analyst but he definitely understands the game especially the zone read option offense. Also speaking of possible futurer eventual head coaching I think Peyton Manning is a shoe in whatever level he’d like to start in, he basically calls the offense as the quarterback right now & has for quite some time making checks at the line of scrimmage I could see him easily roaming the sidelines of Neyland Stadium one day as the head coach almost their version of what Steve Spurrier was & will always be to us.

  25. MAR says:

    And I know Kerwin Bell didn’t learn under SOS as a player, but he runs a fun n gun style offense, considers Spurrier his inspiration as a coach and is a Gator through and through. He would want to win for the same reasons any HC would want to win, but also because deep down, he is a Gator fan, and I think that is huge.

  26. jjgator68 says:

    Hoping Will gets a great opportunity to continue his career. Also hoping it is not immedicately in the SEC or in the state of Florida–especially as the DC for South Carolina where he could not only improve their defense but also attract some of UF’s potential and current recruits.

  27. Tebow, Abstinence=Power says:

    I am a little shocked that Butch Davis isn’t mentioned. Powerful recruiter within the State of FL and he is available. Since it has now been determined that the UNC academic fraud/tutoring was long term and began well prior to his arrival then I would feel he has been fully/mostly absolved of any wrong doing.

    Defensive minded and 63 (while both are not optimal), I feel he has the tools and connections in place to make for a great hire. I will hang up now and listen to your feedback on the radio….

  28. g8ter27 says:

    What about Chuckie?

  29. W2 says:

    Hey Adam what about Josh McDanials the OC at New England. He’s had HC experience

  30. Brandon Johnson says:

    I’d hate to see him go but Kirby Smart is the best option for Florida no doubt. He has totally provin his self year after year as being one of the greatest defensive minds In college football. And everybody or everybody should know defences win games. Kirby Smart no brainer!!! #ROLLDAMNTIDE

    • Steven says:

      So hire Muschamp 2.0

      PASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

      • Brandon Johnson says:

        Wow so close minded exactly the reason Florida is in this situation. muschamp has never worked or learned from the best coach in the country.#ROLLDAMNTIDE

        • Sean says:

          If you are calling Saban the best, then you might want to check your facts. Ever heard of LSU or Miami Dolphins? Keep your intelligent thoughts to the Bama chat rooms, troll.

        • Steven says:

          Wait is this a troll?
          Muschamp did work for Saban you idiot.

          Also how do my thoughts on the matter have any effect on the current situation.
          Does Jeremey Foley have me on speed dial? Is he getting my opinion on who to hire?
          Maybe he should looking back on his hiring prowess.

  31. Brandon Johnson says:

    There’s no way muschamp should even be called a defensive minded coach Florida has the worst ranked defense in the SEC so to compare himto kKirby is just Ludacris.

  32. DC Gator says:

    Why is no one talking about David Shaw from Stanford. HC since 2011 in a power 5 conference. Offense minded coach. Has run his team well with less resources than his competitors in a crowded field. Has pulled off big wins as an underdog. Seems to be running his program on the up-and-up. Yes, he’s having a rough year, but all of his losses have come to ranked opponents and 3 of them have been within one possession. If he can do what he’s done at Stanford, what might he do with the resources at UF?

  33. Brandon Johnson says:

    Yeah I’ve herd of both them teams and there not coaches there football teams that mediocre at best and always have been. So sounds like u should do your on home work and get you facts straight. I love Alabama but I like the hole sec as a hole no doubt it’s the best conference in the country but u really shouldn’t think either of those teams should be in the same conversation as Alabama!

    • I_Am_Gator says:

      So you’ve heard of LSU and the Miami Dolphins and yes they’re teams not coaches. But what they have in common is they both had Nick Saban as their head coach. And who did Saban have as his defensive coordinator at both places?? None other than Will Muschamp. Who by the way, in the 03-04 season, helped deliver LSU a BCS national championship.

  34. Brandon Johnson says:

    Google it most SEC championship series what u can find out for fact books!!!

  35. Brandon Johnson says:

    I’ll go ahead and through a name out there see if it’ll stick.One word Tebow i like it!!!

  36. dpett98 says:

    I think that Wille Fritz, Georgia Southern HC, makes the most sense. Outstanding track record, High octane offense, Up and coming coach, Recruits the south. It should be easy to lure him away from GSU.

  37. dpett98 says:

    Plus he knows how to win in the Swamp!

  38. Daniel Rivera says:

    Here’s a name to keep an eye on here: Adam Gase (Denver Broncos OC) – He’s young, very innovative Offensive Mind. He would be a great fit for UF and he would give, not only us (CANES), but FSU a run for their money in recruiting. He would make your offense a force to be reckoned with. One to watch here.

  39. Jason says:

    Adam, I’m curious – why isn’t James Franklin’s name not being mentioned? Seems like he would be a great option and with his success in the SEC East and all of the baggage still tied to the Penn State program that he would be interested. What do you think?

  40. Rod Crawford says:

    Let’s consider Tim TEBOW! With all his experience since he was a Youngster, with a Heisman under his belt and many records Broken in UF history. I personally think giving the chance he would be as good as anyone out there. Everybody has that first chance!!! A little patience would be all it would take… Also Chris Leak! Maybe the DOU!!!

  41. steve says:

    I wonder if they could convince Franklin to leave Penn State. He had Vandy on the rise while there and seems good at motivating the players he has available to step up.

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