BREAKING NEWS: Will Muschamp hired as Florida Gators next head football coach

By Adam Silverstein
December 11, 2010

The Florida Gators have hired Texas Longhorns defensive coordinator Will Muschamp as their newest head coach.

“This is a dream come true to be the head coach of the Florida Gators,” said Muschamp according to an official release from the University of Florida. “I grew up watching the Gators and whatever other SEC team was on television. I have great memories watching SEC football with my father on Saturdays and playing football in the back yard with my two brothers right here in Gainesville.”

He continued, “I’m eager to get to work and represent this great institution. I’m very thankful for the opportunity given to me by President Dr. Bernie Machen and Athletic Director Jeremy Foley. I promise to bring a tremendous amount of passion and energy to work every day and my goal is to have our team bring the same type of attitude in everything we do both on and off the field. I want our team to play hard, with relentless effort and with toughness. We want to make the Gator Nation proud.”

Muschamp, the coach-in-waiting under Mack Brown at Texas, has never held a head coaching job before. Prior to coordinating the defense for the Longhorns, Muschamp held the same position with Auburn (2006-07), the Miami Dolphins (2005), LSU (2002-04) and Valdosta State (2000).

Having turned down head coaching opportunities at schools like Clemson, Tennessee and Auburn over the years, Muschamp was named the successor to Brown in Nov. 2008; however, Brown is expected to coach Texas through at least 2016.

Now the 23rd head coach in Florida history, Muschamp is a former resident of Gainesville, FL, who lived there for 10 years as a youngster. At 39-years-old, he is the second-youngest coach in the Southeastern Conference.

Foley, who departed Gainesville for Austin, TX, at approximately 8 a.m. and arrived back in town at 8 p.m. on Saturday, wasted little time in signing a new head coach after Urban Meyer officially resigned on Wednesday.

“Coach Muschamp is someone we targeted from the beginning and he is the guy we wanted,’’ Foley said. “He is the only person we met with and the only person we offered the job to.”

He also raved about Muschamp’s experience and dedication.

“We are thrilled to have Coach Muschamp lead our football program,” Foley said. “When we started the search for our next head coach we wanted a coach who was familiar with the Southeastern Conference. We wanted a candidate who was a relentless recruiter and was familiar with recruiting in the state of Florida.

“We wanted a candidate who was high energy and had been on the big stage. We wanted a candidate who was respected by his players and his peers and we wanted someone who had a passion for the University of Florida. Coach Muschamp is all of those things and more. He is a grounded family man with a wonderful wife and two children and we welcome them into our Gator family.”

Meyer approved of the hire, noting that his replacement is a top-notch recruiter.

“He’s a tremendous recruiter,’’ Meyer said. “I have bumped into him many times over the years on the road while on recruiting trips.”

Florida will officially announce the hiring of Muschamp at a press conference at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Photo Credit: Brian Bahr/Getty Images

50 Comments

  1. Bert M. says:

    Awesome job Jeremy Foley!!!! Great hire

  2. DCgator says:

    Underwhelming…I just don’t understand why he was Foley’s TOP choice. Can’t say I feel great about keeping Driskel on board.

    Do these Kerwin Bell OC rumors have legs, Adam?

  3. liveoak87 says:

    Very Nice! Now to see who he brings in at coordinators what the recrutes do.

  4. Reirrups says:

    Shades of Zook?

  5. Gatorfan316 says:

    WOW……Where did this come from? I have a bad feeling about this just like I did when Zook was hired. Zooker was a great recruiter also.

    I sure hope my gut is wrong this time.

  6. DGLgatorfan says:

    Wasn’t expecting this but I think it’s a really good hire

  7. Joe says:

    I think this is a great hire. Muschamp has the ambition and drive to succeed at Florida. With the right staff he could be a great HC.

  8. Basshole says:

    I don’t know how I feel about this, but it was definitely a bold move. I’d rather have a young, hungry, unproven coach than an old re-tread. I really won’t know how I feel about this until I hear who the new OC is. Regardless, I’m excited to see what the future brings. Go Gators!!!

  9. kt says:

    its a home run. never saw this coming. Foley you are the man!!!!

  10. david says:

    Was happy to call it. It is obvious his background and recruiting prowess made an impression on Foley. Welcome to Gator Nation Coach Muschamp!!

  11. DC says:

    Very excited about Muschamp. I’ve heard a lot of good things about him from my Auburn friends. Also has the fire and energy it takes to coach at a school like Florida. Going to miss Meyer, but very excited about the new coach.

  12. E-Pain says:

    This adds credence to the “rumor” that Foley knew about Urbz retirement a year ago. Who was one of the biggest up and comings a year ago? Muschamp. Who was in the running for the Tennessee job? Muschamp. I think Foley has known for a year, has been in contact with him, and had this planned from the start. To not even interview anyone else shows everything.

    I’m still unsure how I feel but this hire has a lot of pros:

    1) Young coach- first HC job. Could be a con, but clearly Foley wants someone that isn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon, unless we say so.

    2) HELL of a recruiter, knows Texas and Fla. Could be epic.

    3) GREAT Passion and Fire. Think Old-school Urban.

    Now for cons- Iffy Texas D this year, don’t know how he will be at HC.

    *Needs to hire an amazing OC to finish the job. Fire Addazio. Now.

  13. InjunBuck says:

    I am on board.

    Welcome Coach Muschamp!

  14. Reirrups says:

    I don’t think our coach should ever be as close friends with the coach at the clown college out west.

  15. Basshole says:

    Any truth to the rumor about Applewhite as the OC? If so, I’m dubious about that hire, at best.

  16. looks decent on paper…….on paper, on paper…….he sure has bounced around a lot…..but i will keep an open mind…..agree that his OC will be huge!

  17. DC says:

    E-Pain…I agree with you that Foley has known this was coming. If not 100% for sure, at least a good feeling that sometime soon this would be the case. When you listen to Meyer’s Press Conference it sounded like he gave Foley 1 more year to leave it the right way and keep the program together. Says a lot about Meyer that he would stay on for another year to help Foley do it the right way. Most people don’t have that much respect for their boss or the company/school they work for.

  18. CH says:

    This guy is “the second coming of Urban”. He has the passion, the fire and can recruit texas better than anyone. I probably would have preferrd a HC to be brought in, but this is NOT a bad move. Now we need a OC – still should get dana holgrens for a few years. I don’t see this as a “zook” job, either but i do agree that Foley was well aware of Urban’s resignation a long long time ago. Not crazy about that situation, but looking forward to what WM can bring in.
    ITS GREAT TO BE A FLORIDA GATOR (and steal the coach-in-waiting)

  19. GatorGracedByGod says:

    Major Applewhite as OC

  20. Daniel M. says:

    I trust Foley, the top AD on the nation, wholly and unequivocally.

    Throughout this brief search my only concern was would they hire a guy who is a recruiting barn burner. Recruiting wins championships plain and simple.

    Can’t wait to see the staff he assembles.

    Any word on his salary?

    Welcome to Gator Nation sir.

  21. CflGator says:

    On board w Muschamp, not so much if Applewhite comes along.

  22. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I don’t think you can say he’s the next Urban cause Urban was a proven head coach…this guy however is proven he knows defense and recruiting….as for those comparing to Zook what a joke….Zook got demoted by SOS for having a bad defense…this guy is a proven defensive mind….if he gets the right OC we should continue to be a national power….I LOVE the HIRE!!! TOP REASONS:

    Passion
    Native Son
    Young
    Knows the SEC very well
    NFL experience
    Clearly a motivator like Urban
    Defense wins championships

  23. Luke says:

    I was starting to really want Peterson, but I talked to a buddy that played at UT and Muschamp is definitely well regarded and hands down a better choice than Mullen or Strong.

    My question: has he led a defense that’s been in the top five or even top ten at UT?

    He’s a heck of a recruiter and it will be good for us to have ties in Texas, but it hope he builds an elite staff. I’m kinda hoping he brings Billy Gonzales in at OC or maybe the OK State OC (Holgorsen?), but outside of them, I can’t really think of anyone hot this year. I think I’m more excited about our staff than our recruits this year!

    Anyway, welcome to Gator Nation, Will! Let’s hope you win 10 games next year or you’ll see the ugly side of fans really quickly…

  24. KM says:

    Just read a great article on Muschamp from January ’09: http://www.statesman.com/sports/content/sports/stories/longhorns/01/04/0104muschamp.html

    Definitely makes me feel proud to have him as our coach. I think this is going to be a great fit, and I think the kids are going to love playing football for him!!!!! GO GATORS!!!!!!!

  25. Greg says:

    Firejeremyfoley.com

  26. David says:

    I agree. I was happy with Muschamp before the hire, but I am very skeptical of Applewhite

  27. g8ter27 says:

    Didn’t see this coming either but I think it is a bold move, but a hell of a good one. OC will be key. We had a few to choose from but this guy is a winnerand he is at a job he likely will not leave on his own now.

  28. Billgator95 says:

    The more I read about our new coach, the more I like the choice.

    I’ve liked him since he was at LSU. Great energy. Great defenses by in large. Last season he had the post-mnc let down that we have seen when a boat load of players go to NFL.

    Don’t know about Applewhite. Will see how that works out.

    Welcome Coach Muschamp! Go Gators!

  29. Basshole says:

    I trust Foley, but I am nervous about the OC hire. My guess is we lose Driskell.

  30. UM says:

    Risky move, Foley must have big balls!

  31. Basshole says:

    Curious, Adam, what are your thoughts?

  32. Greg says:

    I like the move..Great recruiter and has a defensive mind. Exactly what it takes to win ball games. We have a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball which should mean more focus can go into correcting the offense. If he can get his system in place quickly it will take the heat off of the offense.

    Very interested to see if Addazio stays as the OC or he finds a replacement. I don’t know about offensive recruits but this should help with our defensive recruits depending on his scheme.

    I just saw an article on AC Leonard and Driskel saying they plan on sticking it out no matter what..same with Hunter Joyer and a number of other recruits..

  33. WG says:

    At least we can clean house on the coaching staff (SA)…what we had going was a cluster. The worst prepared team since, well…the zookers’.

  34. Greg says:

    Here is the article…A great one in my opinion..a realistic take on the recruiting and coaching cycle…example: Tennessee last year…

    http://recruiting.scout.com/2/1029790.html

    Welcome, Coach Muschamp

  35. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Very good hire by Foley!

  36. GG says:

    Just noticed Texas #1 in recruiting for 2011. Wonder how many of these we can snag??

  37. John S says:

    I didn’t see this one at all. Man two Saban offspring in the state. Texas has to be pissed, they just let go of a ton of there staff as it is. If we could get some of Texas’ class this year we could be in business. Hopefully his staff will be potent, it’ll be nice to raid someone else’s coaches for once. Meyer’s reaction was interesting, you’d think they could get a better quote.

    Foley our faith is in you.

  38. Swampbabe says:

    I called this one three days ago, and was wondering why his name wasn’t popping up on every list. I am thrilled to have a guy who will bring back the FIRE IN THE BELLY. We’ve lacked it for two years now. We lost all our carisma and out will to leave it all out there. You could feel it at the start of every game we played, even the ones we figured out howto win… and that starts with coaches, IMO.

    Is Applewhite a done deal, or a just a rumor? Not too sure he’s the best choice. May just be a familiar face comfort move. I sure hope not.

  39. Dennis Warmke says:

    Sounds like the Applewhite rumors are solid and that he will be our new OC. I’m not sure about him because he did not do real well as Saban’s OC a couple of years ago. However, the best news could be that Kirby Smart is rumored to be our next DC. Kirby has loads of credibility, and could be the best DC in the nation right now. Not only that, but Bama would really miss him, which helps UF. I hope that rumor is solid gold. This whole hiring scenario sounds a lot like the one in Auburn this past year. Auburn made a hire that was questioned by many fans. However, he was given the resources to also bring in a “dream team” of assistants, and we all know how Auburn has done this year with their new coaching staff. Could we have a coaching staff as good as Auburn’s? A lot will depend on the OC and the positon coaches we bring in. Gus Matzlan (sp?) at Auburn has been awesome, and it would be nice to have an OC who can call plays with his flair…. Fingers crossed!!!

  40. SaraGator says:

    Don’t get your hopes up with Smart. Florida doesn’t pay their OC’s well. And, doesn’t he get close to a mil at Alabama???

    Heck… if we’re hiring our competitor’s coaches… then we should go after Randy Shannon. haha

  41. Jesse C says:

    I don’t think hiring Applewhite is a good decision, his offenses have been poor. Doesn’t Muschamp know what we went through this year? Defense wins championships but we still need to put points up on the board. I think that Applewhite is a comfort hire and when things don’t go well, gator nation will force Muschamp to fire him.No one said this will be a smooth transition.

    Has anyone heard how much Muschamp will allow Urban to hang around the football program?

  42. GG says:

    Lets see how great Auburn is without Cam.

  43. Mr2Bits says:

    Those of you who are pissed about this hire are morons. Muschamp was all but a lock for the Texas head coaching job when they run Mack Brown out of town this year or next. He will not make it until 2016 He is as passionate as it gets when it comes to football. Just watch a Texas game(gonna have to wait till next year as they didn’t make a bowl) and you will see that fire we need. Also, don;t think it was a coincidence that Texas has the number one recruiting class most of which are defensive players. You can bet your happy ass some of those players will be donning orange and blue.

    As for our recruiting class(i.e. Driskel)……he’s not going anywhere so sleep tight.

  44. GatorsFanLA says:

    We’re back in business.

    Go Gators!!

  45. Gatorgrad79 says:

    GG,
    It’s not just cam leaving auburn – they have 24 seniors and that doesn’t include any other Jrs that may leave early – next yr will be a challenge, so it may be more likely Muschamp could hire part of their staff away….

  46. G8RGR8 says:

    We are inching towards “Pandora’s Box” Texas interior lineman and Linebackers and Florida’s Athlete’s. Jeremy Foley It’ll be a long time until we forive the Ron Zook hire but, you took one hell of a step in the right direction with this one……… Welcome to Gator Nation “Slick Willie” Go Gators!!!!!!!!1

  47. G8RGR8 says:

    Jesse C
    Please, I am sure Muschamp is well aware of what we went through this year on offense! Face it Meyer left, he is not going to hang around him may live in G-ville. What would muschamp hire him for, to coach recievers, He has never been a coordinator of any kind!!!! By the look of Will Muschamp’s passion on the sideline’s we got the right guy! “Breathe People In-Out-In-Out”

  48. GATORNATIONSPRESIDENT says:

    WELCOME TO GATOR NATION MR. MUSCHAMP!

  49. GATORNATIONSPRESIDENT says:

    Our defense was already excellent, now with Muschamp at the helm, I believe it can be STELLAR. With the athletes and talent we have on the defensive side of the ball, I’m expecting big, historic things from our defense next year and the years to come.

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