With the Florida Gators now having hired the 24th head football coach in program history, Jim McElwain, OnlyGators.com remains here to keep you up to date with the latest news, notes, quotes – and yes, probably some rumors – as McElwain looks to fill out his coaching staff.
Story: Florida resolves buyout issue, announces Jim McElwain as coach
Primer: Get to know new Gators coach Jim McElwain
Breakdown: The odds and ends of Florida signing Jim McElwain
Press conference: Jim McElwain introduced as Gators head coach
Bookmark this page (Ctrl+D on PCs, Command+D on Macs) and check in daily for all the latest as Florida works through the process of replacing Will Muschamp.
Be sure to click through to links provided below to read the reports cited in each blurb.
» Tuesday, December 16 «
12:50 p.m. – According to Rivals.com‘s Mike Farrell ($), Gators defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson has an offer to stay at Florida and is inclined to remain with the program, though he is waiting to meet with new defensive coordinator Geoff Collins before making a commitment.
8:40 p.m. – According to 247Sports.com‘s Texas A&M affiliate, head coach Kevin Sumlin has reached out to Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin about taking the same position on his staff. Similarly, Scout.com‘s North Carolina affiliate reports that Durkin and UNC head coach Larry Fedora met on Sunday about his team’s opening at defensive coordinator. Durkin, who is also serving as the interim head coach for the Gators’ bowl game, has not yet been offered the position per the report. It should be noted that new Florida coach Jim McElwain is expected to strongly consider Durkin for his defensive coordinator position, and he would have little reason to leave UF for a lateral job if that ends up being the case. In fact, one report released soon after McElwain’s hiring indicated that he had already agreed to retain Durkin on his initial Gators coaching staff.
8:30 p.m. – Gators defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson has remained on the recruiting trail with new head coach Jim McElwain as rumors continue to swirl about Robinson joining Will Muschamp at Auburn for the 2015 season. SEC Network analyst Booger McFarland, who would know a thing or two about Robinson (see below), recently recanted his stance that his former teammate would remain at Florida next season, noting that Muschamp put a full-court press on Robinson on Saturday night and convinced him to return to coach the Tigers. It has become obvious that McElwain wants Robinson to remain on staff, but Auburn’s ability to match or exceed Robinson’s salary at UF, coupled with the pull of returning to his alma mater and continuing to coach under Muschamp, may be too much for the Gators to overcome.
No matter what Robinson decides, it may not be known publicly until after Florida’s bowl game as he is under contract with the Gators until that point. Then again, it is questionable as to why McElwain would bring him on the recruiting trail to tell prospects he is staying at Florida if he did not have some indication that a return was probable.
» Saturday, December 13 «
12:45 a.m. – Refuting reports that Florida defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson is “expected” to join Will Muschamp at Auburn is SEC Network analyst Booger McFarland, who (for the second time in as many days) has tweeted that Robinson plans to remain with the Gators. “T Rob is staying at Florida even though Muschamp is the new DC at Auburn #gators He loves being in Florida,” McFarland wrote on his Twitter account late Friday night. But how exactly would McFarland, an analyst and not a news reporter, know this to be the case? Robinson is likely telling him personally. The two were teammates on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played on the same side of the ball, with Robinson a defensive back and McFarland a defensive tackle, so chances are they are either friends or acquaintances. And despite the fact that Robinson is an renowned Auburn player, he is a Miami, Florida, native who grew up in the Sunshine State.
» Friday, December 12 «
10:45 p.m. – Will Muschamp has officially been announced as Auburn’s new defensive coordinator. He will earn a salary of $1.6 million, making him the highest-paid coordinator in the country, according to AL.com. A press conference has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in Auburn, Alabama.
9:45 p.m. – According to Phillip Marshall of 247Sports.com ($), former Florida head coach Will Muschamp is “on the verge” of being named Auburn’s next defensive coordinator after withdrawing his name from Houston’s head coaching search, “barring any last-minute snags.” Marshall further reports that Gators defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson is “expected” to join Muschamp with the Tigers. If the report comes to fruition, Muschamp would be in his third stint at Auburn (second as defensive coordinator) and Robinson would be returning to his alma mater. (See 3:30 p.m. for more on Robinson, who has certainly not been acting like he was planning to leave.) SI.com‘s Thayer Evans and ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy confirm the report.
3:30 p.m. – In a tweet sent Thursday and missed by OnlyGators.com, SEC Network analyst Booger McFarland claimed on Twitter that Florida head coach Jim McElwain has decided to retain defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson. “Great move by coach Mcelwain keeping T-Rob on his staff might be the #gators best recruiter huge win that will likely go unnoticed,” he wrote. Asked by a follower who was reporting this development, McFarland replied, “from me i have my sources.” Pictures of McElwain and Robinson recruiting together have surfaced on Twitter since Monday, though there has been no official word from McElwain on any coaches he is retaining or letting go. Robinson’s status at Florida also must remain in question until Will Muschamp takes a job, especially if Muschamp chooses to take over as Auburn’s defensive coordinator. It would be difficult for most schools to match Robinson’s $510,000 salary with the Gators without making him a defensive coordinator, and even then, it would need to be at a larger program with a budget large enough to pay him a similar salary (such as Auburn). Robinson has also, reportedly, told multiple recruits that he would be staying at Florida next season.
1:00 p.m. – A source tells Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle that former Gators head coach Will Muschamp has already interviewed for the same job with the Houston Cougars. Muschamp is believed to be a top candidate for defensive coordinator positions at Auburn, South Carolina and Texas A&M. As OnlyGators.com noted on Dec. 3, it is no surprise that Muschamp is getting the opportunity to interview – and potentially being offered – lower-rung head coaching opportunities. Muschamp would also be a great hire for Houston considering his experience recruiting the state of Texas.
12:00 p.m. – A junior college offensive tackle being recruited by Florida told InsidetheGators.com‘s Blake Alderman this week ($) that Gators offensive line coach Mike Summers and head coach Jim McElwain offered him a scholarship. He also noted that McElwain said he would be retaining Summers next season, which is good news for Florida. Not only is Summers a veteran who did yeoman’s work to improve the Gators’ offensive line this season, he will be even more important in 2015 as UF is set to lose three or four starters up front. Florida also needs an offensive line coach in place to help with recruiting down the stretch as UF may be forced to rely on a number of first- and second-year players next season.
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» Friday, December 5 «
1:45 p.m. – Updating the Will Muschamp item below, 247Sports.com‘s JC Shurburtt blatantly calls the report “inaccurate” with “multiple sources” at South Carolina denying it. Furthermore, Schurburtt reports that Muschamp is currently in the Dominican Republic on vacation. ESPN.com‘s Travis Haney ($) notes that Muschamp would “like to continue as a head coach somewhere” though he realizes the “defensive coordinator opportunities in front of him are better.” He does note that there is an offer from South Carolina on the table, however. “I’d say it’s more likely Muschamp would take South Carolina over [Texas A&M]. If it went well, I’m told Muschamp believes he’d be in line to replace Steve Spurrier.”
11:00 a.m. – Take it with a grain of salt right now, but… According to Scout.com, former Florida head coach Will Muschamp “will be South Carolina’s new defensive coordinator” with “the opportunity to be South Carolina’s head coach when [Steve] Spurrier retires.” Furthermore, Scout reports that Muschamp will earn $1.6-1.9 million per season and “plans to bring several of his defensive coaches from Florida.” Spurrier has already denied the report. “No, I haven’t hired Will,” he told Josh Kendall of The State. “I haven’t really talked to anybody about additions.” Furthermore, according to ESPN‘s Mark Schlabach, Muschamp is out of the country on vacation and will not make any decision until he returns.
It is worth noting that, despite the unconfirmed validity of the report, defensive line coach Brad Lawing worked at USC before leaving Spurrier for Muschamp and UF. Also, defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson was a player under Muschamp at Auburn and the two are believed to be very close. Rumors of Muschamp potentially taking a defensive coordinator job at Auburn have included Robinson returning to his alma mater. However, it is likely that Florida and new coach Jim McElwain will make a major attempt to keep Robinson, an ace recruiter who is responsible for some of the Gators’ biggest commitments over the last four years.
» Thursday, December 4 «
9:45 p.m. – Citing a source, the Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson reports that new Florida coach Jim McElwain “does not plan to bring any members of staff at CSU with him to the Gators.” That may speak somewhat to indications that were made earlier in the week that McElwain agreed with athletic director Jeremy Foley in that it may be in the program’s best interested to retain a number of staff members, most specifically key defensive coaches and recruiters.
McElwain not bringing any of his old staff over to Florida could also benefit the Gators in another way. With UF struggling in recruiting due to its unsettled coaching situation, McElwain may be able to pull a number of coaches into the program who can recruit while the current staff is doing all of the preparation for the bowl game (under the direction of defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, the interim coach).
10:00 a.m. – Colorado State and Florida have come to a buyout agreement and Jim McElwain will be named the next head coach of the Gators.
12:30 a.m. – Corroborating numerous reports from Tuesday and Wednesday, ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy reported early Thursday morning that Colorado State president Tony Frank’s firm stance on not accepting less than the full $7.5 million buyout for coach Jim McElwain has completely stalled Florida’s hiring of McElwain. Furthermore, McMurphy reports that there was indeed a verbal agreement between Frank, McElwain and at least three other parties on June 6 that Frank would “reduce or eliminate the buyout if McElwain were offered a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’-type job.”
Though talks are stalled at this time, the Gators very much want McElwain to be their next head coach. However, “Florida officials are ‘pessimistic’ the deal will get done” if Frank does not negotiate terms of the buyout, unnamed sources told McMurphy. In fact, as The Gainesville Sun’s Robbie Andreu first reported late Wednesday (see below), athletic director Jeremy Foley made his final decision to fly to Fort Collins, Colorado, on Tuesday because he was “under the impression that there were provisions in McElwain’s contract that would allow him to leave for a lower buyout” and he was “led to believe the buyout could be reduced,” per McMurphy.
» Wednesday, December 3 «
9:00 p.m. – The Gainesville Sun‘s Robbie Andreu dropped a couple important nuggets of information Wednesday night. According to Andreu, Colorado State officials explicitly told Florida that the $7.5 million buyout on coach Jim McElwain‘s contract was negotiable “before [athletic director Jeremy] Foley and other members of his UAA staff flew” out to Fort Collins, Colorado, on Tuesday. Furthermore, “negotiations to possibly lower the buyout are ongoing between McElwain, his attorney and Colorado State president Tony Frank” with a compromise possible “at any time.”
8:30 p.m. – After returning to Gainesville, Florida, early Wednesday evening, the booster jet carrying the Gators’ contingent was first flown to Jacksonville, Florida, and then returned to its owner. Florida, hoping to avoid the tracking of the private jets it actually owns, has since taken a step to make both planes untrackable going forward. As pointed out by The Independent Florida Alligator‘s Richard Johnson, public tracking of the private jets was turned off by the popular website FlightAware.com “per request of the owner/operator.”
6:00 p.m. – Beat writers in Gainesville, Florida, were onsite at the airport when Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley landed in a private jet. According to the Associated Press‘ Mark Long, Foley only had a few words for the gathered masses about the coaching search. “We gave you what we gave you. that’s the end of the conversation. There’s nothing else to report,” said Foley, referring to the one-sentence tweet the program’s account sent out earlier Wednesday (see below). “We had a great conversation. We’re not there yet. Might have something more tonight.”
It is certainly interesting that Foley threw in “might have something more tonight,” almost insinuating that Florida has indeed zeroed-in McElwain and it is just a matter of time before a deal is made official. Whether that comes to fruition Wednesday night, Thursday or not at all obviously remains to be seen as this search continues.
4:55 p.m. – A source has told the Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson that “CSU has not budged an inch on the buyout,” referring to the $7.5 million due the school if Jim McElwain is to take another job. Furthermore, Thompson reports that “CSU officials who once thought McElwain was on his way UF are unsure whether he will in fact take over as the Gators’ next coach.” 6:15 p.m. – Yahoo! Sports released a report confirming Thompson’s information that CSU will not move on the $7.5 million buyout.
4:50 p.m. – Contrary to a report that Jim McElwain had informed Colorado State’s players and staff that he was leaving to become Florida’s head coach, numerous Rams players have come out on Twitter to note that has not been the case. “People, STOP believing all these STUPID reports that we’ve been called into a team meeting,” wrote Garrett Grayson, CSU’s star quarterback and the Mountain West’s Offensive Player of the Year. “Don’t u think by now a player would have tweeted something if it was true? Good lord..”
2:55 p.m. – Florida took off from Colorado – one hour ahead of schedule – without CSU’s Jim McElwain on board per media onsite at the airport. Considering the Gators publicly mentioned McElwain in a tweet, it is likely that the school has a schedule of events laid out over the next few days, which probably includes team meetings and an official announcement. No deal has been announced, though Colorado State officials fully believe that McElwain will be the next head coach at Florida, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
2:40 p.m. – Florida’s official Twitter account sent out the following somewhat-cryptic message on Wednesday afternoon: “We’ve had very productive conversations with Coach [Jim] McElwain and his wife Karen and those continue.” It is tough to draw much from that, other than to say with the Gators’ flight scheduled to leave approximately 90 minutes after the tweet was sent, one must wonder whether McElwain will be on board, even if he has agreed to terms of a deal with Florida. Perhaps the negotiations on McElwain’s $7.5 million buyout with Colorado State are holding up the hiring process – and subsequent announcement by UF – or perhaps the Gators are preparing fans for the poaching of the Rams’ head coach. It should also be noted that flight plans can be delayed and changed, so nothing is set in stone at this time. Also a consideration:
It also would make sense that Gators are giving Jim McElwain a chance to tell his team
— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) December 3, 2014
2:30 p.m. – During an interview with ESPN Radio out of Nashville, Tennessee, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said the following about the Gators’ rumored interest and potential offer to the Rebels’ Hugh Freeze. “I know Florida, and I respect Jeremy Foley. He respects us. If there was interest, he would have called. That’s how we dealt with it – was just a reality-based process.” Pressed as to whether Foley did make that phone call, Bjork declined comment. “We’ll let them handle their search how they do it,” he said. “We got our guy and we’re excited about it.”
2:10 p.m. – The booster-owned private jet that University Athletic Association officials flew out to Fort Collins, Colorado, has a scheduled flight plan to return to Gainesville, Florida at 7 p.m. EST. Unlike the initial trip, the 4 p.m. EST flight will be direct from Fort Collins Regional Airport to Gainesville Regional Airport and is expected to have Colorado State’s Jim McElwain aboard alongside Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley and other UAA staffers.
1:40 p.m. – Countering the report from The Coloradoan (see below) is the Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson, whose source said a significant reduction of the buyout is “‘not gonna happen’ and there is substantially less wiggle room in reducing the buyout than some media have implied.” Unlike The Coloradoan, the Orlando Sentinel‘s source at CSU has been spot-on during this latter part of Florida’s coaching search.
1:00 p.m. – According to The Coloradoan, the only hurdle remaining in Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley‘s pursuit of Colorado State‘s Jim McElwain is the coach’s $7.5 million buyout with the Rams, which Foley is reportedly in the process of trying to negotiate down to $3 million. “Negotiating the buyout, but it’s a done deal,” a source told the paper Wednesday morning. It should be noted that The Coloradoan has been involved in a couple of misses already on this McElwain story, so while the story certainly sounds legitimate, anything could still happen at this point.
It should also be noted that the private jet that flew University Athletic Association staff, including Foley, to Fort Collins, Colorado, does not yet have a flight plan to return back to Gainesville, Florida. It remains out of a hanger at the airport in Fort Collins, however.
12:15 a.m. – Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports reports that the Gators and the Rams’ Jim McElwain are in the process of finalizing a deal to make him Florida’s next head coach.
» Tuesday, December 2 «
11:15 p.m. – Pictured in this – yes, creepy – paparazzi photo at the home of Colorado State’s Jim McElwain are a contingent of Florida brass including athletic director Jeremy Foley (center), sports information director Steve McClain (left) and executive associate ADs Chip Howard (behind Foley) and Mike Hill (right).
— John Leyba (@Presto89) December 3, 2014
10:45 p.m. – As OnlyGators.com has reported numerous times on this page, the $7.5 million buyout on the contract of Colorado State’s Jim McElwain is seen as a non-issue by Florida, which is confident it and/or McElwain can either get the buyout reduced or eliminated altogether. The Gators have also been operating under the assumption that, if necessary, they could mitigate the buyout via a variety of methods including potentially donating a sum of money to the school, paying the Rams to come to Gainesville, Florida, for a non-conference game and the like.
Tuesday night, The Coloradoan‘s Kelly Lyell confirmed that not only is there a clause in McElwain’s contract for his buyout to be reduced or scratched (as was already known). However, he also reported that CSU president Tony Frank also agreed (seemingly verbally) to “reduce if not eliminate the breakup fee if a ‘dream job’ were to come along,” per former Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham. “With Tony verbally committing to work with Mac to reduce or eliminate the breakup fee, the work we had done [to put the buyout in place] was severely compromised if not completely unwound,” Graham continued. “It created opportunities for schools like Florida, Michigan and Nebraska — all arguably ‘dream jobs’ — to go after Mac.”
It should be noted that there is a disagreement around CSU regarding whether what Graham told Lyell for his report is completely accurate. Therefore, the following is directly from McElwain’s contract (edited for clarity). The “dream job” portion would not be and is not included as Graham indicated it was a verbal understanding.
“In the case or event of extenuating circumstances the University’s President shall have the discretion, but not the obligation, to reduce in whole or in part McElwain’s obligation to pay [a buyout fee] to the University. McElwain shall have the right to request that the Parties engage in a good faith discussion of such [buyout terms] prior to McElwain providing formal notice to the University of his decision to terminate this Agreement without cause, and in such the University agrees to engage in such discussion, although the University has no obligation to reduce in whole or in part McElwain’s obligation to pay [the buyout fee], with an understanding and acknowledgement that time will be of the essence in coming to a final decision.”
8:25 p.m. – According to Fort Collins Coloradoan writer Kelly Lyell, who is at the Fort Collins airport, it looks as if Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley will be staying overnight in Colorado. “They were looking for a spot in a hanger for [the] plane with no luck,” Lyell wrote on Twitter.
4:50 p.m. – According to FootballScoop.com‘s Scott Roussel, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley and Colorado State’s Jim McElwain have agreed “that it would be best for Florida football to retain defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson at a minimum.” It would make sense them for the Gators to also insist that defensive line coach Brad Lawing remains on staff, and perhaps at least one coach on the offensive side of the ball as well.
4:45 p.m. –
— Kelly Lyell (@KellyLyell) December 2, 2014
4:00 p.m. – The Boston Globe‘s Ben Volin asked New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels about rumors that he was a candidate for the Florida opening. “I really, honestly don’t have any idea about that rumor. I mean, I heard it, but I have nothing to add to it, and my focus is solely on the Chargers and getting our team ready to go this week on offense, and trying to do the best thing I can,” he said, during a teleconference with local writers. “You’re right, it’s a time of year that this happens quite a bit, and I’ve been through it before.”
2:25 p.m. – ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy reports that Colorado State’s Jim McElwain is now Florida’s top target to replace Will Muschamp.
1:45 p.m. – OnlyGators.com has learned that a private jet, which is believed to be owned by a Florida booster and used by the University Athletic Association, took off from Gainesville Regional Airport (Gainesville, Florida) at 12:16 p.m. EST and is en route to the Joplin Regional Airport (Joplin, Missouri). The next destination on its manifest is Fort Collins Regional Airport (Fort Collins, Colorado), which is in the home city of Colorado State University. Rams head coach Jim McElwain has been reported to be a top target of Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley. McElwain on Tuesday was named Mountain West Coach of the Year after leading CSU to a 10-2 regular-season record.
12:30 p.m. – The Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson, citing a “person well entrenched at CSU,” noted on Twitter that the Colorado State athletic department is “extremely nervous” that Rams’ coach Jim McElwain is a prime candidate for the Gators job.
12:15 p.m. – Bleacher Report‘s Jason Cole reported Tuesday that Florida’s coaching search “does not include either Chip Kelly or Josh McDaniels,” who are the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, respectively. Cole adds, in what appears to be an opinion, that Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley “is not terribly interested in NFL coaches because he feels like he’s going to have to overpay.” Furthermore, he notes that Kelly’s NCAA show-cause penalty (which expires on Dec. 25) and McDaniels’s overall lack of experience (especially as it pertains to being a head coach in college) could also be deterrents.
In addition to the notes above, it should be mentioned that Foley going after an NFL coach, at least one in playoff or Super Bowl contention, would be extremely difficult to swing. In regards to a head coach, his team would need to be eliminated from the postseason before he could seriously consider making a jump; in regards to a coordinator, one would have to potentially break his contract or leave his team in the postseason, which is a lot to ask for a professional coach. Seeing as the NFL regular season does not conclude until the end of December and the NFL Playoffs run from Jan. 3 until Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, a NFL head coach or coordinator interested in making the jump may not even be available to do so until days before 2015 National Signing Day. That’s not going to work.
9:00 a.m. – Ole Miss and head coach Hugh Freeze announced that they have come to terms and agreed on a four-year extension. (See below – Monday, 6:20 p.m. – for a take on Florida saying that it neither met with nor officially offered Freeze a deal.)
2:30 a.m. – The Denver Post has confirmed a report from Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports (see below) that Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley spoke with Colorado State’s Jim McElwain over the phone Saturday night. The Post‘s Terry Frei also reached out to CSU interim athletic director John Morris, who “declined to comment” on either McElwain’s status or whether Foley had contacted Morris seeking permission to discuss the Gators’ opening with his coach.
1:45 a.m. – Confirming multiple reports from Monday, Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports noted early Tuesday morning that “Hugh Freeze is close to agreeing to a new deal” with Ole Miss and all that is left to tie up are “loose ends.” Prior reports have Freeze receiving approximately $4 million per year as part of his extension with annual pool of money made available to Freeze for his assistants also jumping up $500,000 per year.
» Monday, December 1 «
10:25 p.m. – Late Monday night, Parrish Alford of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported that Ole Miss’s Hugh Freeze has “reached a verbal agreement to sign a contract extension that will pay him at least $4 million a year” and give Freeze an additional $500,000 for which to divvy up among his assistant coaches. Prior reports stated that Florida offered Freeze the opportunity to coach the Gators at a rate of $4.2-4.3 million per season. An Oxford, Mississippi, native, Freeze was hired by Ole Miss in 2012 and led the Rebels to a 9-3 regular-season record this year.
6:20 p.m. – During a Monday appearance on 1010 XL out of Jacksonville, Florida, The Gainesville Sun‘s Pat Dooley said he spoke directly with Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley, who told Dooley that he has not met with Ole Miss’s Hugh Freeze. “Hugh Freeze has not been offered a contract, OK? Let me just tell everybody this. Jeremy Foley has never met Hugh Freeze. Don’t you think Jeremy Foley is going to meet his head coach before he gives him an offer? He’s never done it any other way. It’s just, some of the stuff that’s out there is so ludicrous. Is Hugh Freeze in the mix? Sure, he’s in the mix. But they haven’t met, and I know that for a fact because I got that directly from Jeremy.”
As with the statement Florida released earlier Monday (see below), this is semantics. Though Foley is likely telling Dooley the truth – that he has never met with Freeze – that does not preclude Foley from telling Freeze’s agent the parameters of a potential deal and having the agent float those parameters to Freeze in order to gauge the coach’s interest. If Freeze is then interested and tells his agent that he would take the job, then Foley would meet with the coach in an attempt to make it official.
Dooley also recanted a prior comment, when he said Colorado State’s Jim McElwain was not in the mix for the Gators job because of the $7.5 million buyout in his contract. Repeating what OnlyGators.com has written multiple times on this very page (Nov. 17, 2:22 p.m. & Nov. 30, 8:25 p.m.), Dooley explained how the buyout is negotiable and there are other ways of making CSU happy outside of simply cutting the school a check.
2:55 p.m. – Reports from radio and television stations will not often be found in this ticker, but this one from CBS 3 out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is particularly interesting. According to Marc Farzetta, who is citing a “source with direct knowledge of the situation,” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley will “‘kick the tires'” of Eagles coach Chip Kelly “as early as Tuesday of this week” in order to ascertain his interest in the open Gators job. Philadelphia is 19-9 since Kelly took over the team ahead of the 2013 season (9-3 this year) with the Eagles showing no signs of being disinterested in keeping Kelly long-term. Nevertheless, Kelly spent the first 22 years of his coaching career in the college ranks, and his success at Oregon cannot be overlooked. Kelly would not be a home run hire for Florida – he would be a grand slam – which makes it more than plausible that Foley will reach out to Kelly. The Gators, in an offensive lull for the last five seasons, are ripe for Kelly’s brand of coaching. Whether Kelly has any actual interest in returning to the college ranks remains to be seen.
2:50 p.m. – Multiple reports, including one from FootballScoop.com‘s Scott Roussel, are indicating that Ole Miss’s Hugh Freeze is either leaning towards or planning on staying w/ the Rebels and passing up the reported offer to coach the Gators. “Sources tell me there has been significant dialogue between Freeze and Florida, but that Ole Miss has been working with Freeze for some time on an extension. Sources I have spoken with believe Ole Miss will be in a position [Tuesday] to announce an extension with Freeze,” Roussel writes.
10:25 a.m. – FootballScoop.com‘s Scott Roussel on Monday confirmed the candidacy of Colorado State’s Jim McElwain for the Florida job but also added another name to the list, noting that current New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is being vetted by the Gators and athletic director Jeremy Foley. McDaniels, while certainly intriguing as both a Nick Saban and Bill Belichick disciple who has two years of NFL head coaching experience, is an interesting name for a number of reasons.
His potential candidacy should also come with some trepidation. Though well-respected and young at 38, McDaniels has never truly coached at the collegiate level outside of spending two years on Saban’s Michigan State staff as a graduate assistant (1999-2000). Ever since, he has worked in the NFL, spending 11 full seasons (and part of a 12th) on the Patriots’ staff in some capacity. McDaniels has never recruited and appears to have his mind set on being an NFL coach one day. In fact, a potential McDaniels hire may wind up being short-term at Florida no matter what assurances he gives the Gators, just as fellow Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien left New England for the head coaching job at Penn State, only to turn around and accept an NFL gig with the Houston Texans two years later. The difference here is that O’Brien actually had more then a decade of college coaching experience, where McDaniels has none.
9:00 a.m. – Florida’s University Athletic Association on Monday responded to a report from late Sunday night that Ole Miss’s Hugh Freeze was mulling an offer to become the next head coach of the Gators (see below), denying that such an offer exists at this time: “We will have no comment on the recent multiple reports other than to say that we have made no job offers to anyone and reports claiming that are false.”
This is standard operating procedure for Florida (and many other high-profile programs), which like to claim that the person who accepts its open job is the only one that it was officially offered to. The Gators do not want the perception that they have swung and missed on anyone, even difficult-to-lure coaches from other programs. So take the UAA’s statement Monday simply as “business as usual.”
» Sunday, November 30 «
11:35 p.m. – According to SB Nation‘s Steven Godfrey, Florida as offered its head coaching job to Ole Miss’s Hugh Freeze with a “base salary in the range of $4.2 to $4.3 million annually.” Citing multiple sources, Godfrey reports that the “Rebels are attempting to compete with the Gators’ offer” in order to force Freeze to make a decision based solely off of which program he would prefer to coach, as opposed to which will pay him best.
Not accounted for in Godfrey’s report is that the state of Mississippi has an income tax rate of five percent on salaries over $10,001 per year. On a flat $4 million salary with Ole Miss, Freeze would bring home $3.8 million before U.S. income taxes, which would be nearly $500,000 less annually than a Florida offer that started at $4.3 million per year. OM would need to offer Freeze $4.53 million to meet what UF has reportedly laid out in front of Freeze. Freeze has denied speaking with the Gators directly about an opportunity but has also not snuffed out speculation that he could leave the Rebels at season’s end. Ole Miss has previously stated that it was working on a raise and contract extension for Freeze. Also, as pointed out by FootballScoop.com‘s Scott Roussel on Twitter, it is quite unlike UF to put an offer in a coach’s hands and wait for a decision.
10:20 p.m. – Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports amended his story (see below) to note that Colorado State’s Jim McElwain spoke on the phone with Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley on Saturday night, presumably after the Gators’ regular-season finale.
8:25 p.m. – Forde, citing multiple sources, reports that Colorado State’s Jim McElwain “has emerged as a leading candidate for the Florida vacancy.” Per Forde, “Information has been gathered on McElwain by Florida officials since the school announced two weeks ago that Will Muschamp would not return as coach, sources said. It is unclear how many other candidates may be involved. Sources said Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was among those on Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley’s radar, but McElwain’s name may be at the top of the list.”
McElwain, a former offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban, has been exceedingly successful at CSU, leading the Rams to a 10-2 record and second-place finish in the Mountain West this season. He went 4-8 in his first year and 8-6 in his second, steadily improving the program. OnlyGators.com has previously detailed the pros and cons of hiring McElwain. The biggest deterrent to McElwain being hired away from Colorado State is his $7.5 million buyout, though a sports agent source confirmed to OnlyGators.com on Sunday evening that the school has the ability to waive either a portion of the buyout or the entire thing depending on a variety of circumstances. (As an example, Florida could agree to bring CSU to Gainesville for a game or play a home-and-home series in order to avoid the buyout but still give the school a financial benefit.)
FootballScoop.com‘s Scott Roussel does not believe McElwain, a Montana native with plenty of connections out west, would be a good fit for Florida. “Mac is a very good head coach. He also is very happy where he is,” Roussel tweeted. “Staff is suited for recruiting Colorado and the surrounding area very well. Not Florida very well. Would have to build entirely new staff. There are a lot of excellent football coaches out there that just aren’t the right cultural fit. Mac is a western type guy. He loves it out there. Do see him growing within the profession but I don’t see him as the next head guy at Florida. Just don’t see it.”
12:10 a.m. – According to Sports Illustrated‘s Pete Thamel, Ole Miss’s Hugh Freeze is indeed “on the short list of Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley.” Writes Thamel: “Foley is expected to act quickly. While it’s still unknown where Freeze is in Florida’s pecking order, Ole Miss boosters and administrators are already scared enough that they’re calling around to see if they can secure enough money to keep Freeze. Expect Freeze to be much wealthier by the end of this week, but the question will be whether his paychecks are coming from Oxford or Gainesville.” Freeze on Saturday denied that the Gators have contacted him, let alone offered him the job (see below), but certainly there are other ways for Florida to make its potential interest in Freeze known. Foley said previously that he would not speak directly with a coach until the conclusion of that coach’s regular season, but he also said UF would not use back channels to secure its next coach.
» Saturday, November 29 «
10:25 p.m. – Ole Miss’s Hugh Freeze, during his post-game press conference following a 31-17 win in the 2014 Egg Bowl over Mississippi State, denied seemingly unsubstantiated reports from earlier in the week that he had been offered the Florida coaching job. “It’s amazing to me how many things that are put on the internet are now believable. I have not heard from any university except for the one I am fortunate enough to be the head coach,” he said. “Like I said earlier this week, I don’t comment on job statuses – anybody’s job status, particularly mine – whether it’s good or bad. I’m blessed to be the head football coach at the University of Mississippi, my home.” Freeze, of course, did not comment on whether he would be interested in a position with the Gators in the future.
» Friday, November 28 «
1:35 p.m. – Reports on Thursday indicated that Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is planning to accept the SMU head coaching job perhaps as soon as Sunday. For those that believed Tigers’ head coach Dabo Swinney was an option for the Gators, losing Morris to SMU would certainly make him a less-attractive candidate overall. There were some whispers that Morris would wait to see whether Swinney was offered the Florida job before deciding to take a head coaching gig, but if the reports – from 247Sports.com and Fox Sports‘ Bruce Feldman – are accurate, Morris will already be elsewhere by the time the Gators make a decision on their head-coaching position. (Another angle, of course, is that Swinney has already been informed he is not in the running for the Florida job, in which case Morris’s decision was even easier.)
» Wednesday, November 26 «
2:00 p.m. – Though the reasons that Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez may not ultimately be a legitimate candidate for the Florida head coaching job have been mentioned below and detailed in OnlyGators.com‘s pros-and-cons breakdown of a number of coaches potentially up for the job, a coaching industry source told OnlyGators.com recently that Rodriguez should not be completely ruled out for the position with the Gators. It should be noted, however, that any potential hire of Rodriguez would most certainly necessitate the coach explaining what happened at Michigan, particularly when it comes to discord within the athletic department and his NCAA violations, and Foley doing enough background checks to ensure Rodriguez’s claims were factual.
OnlyGators.com has also learned that Arizona State’s Todd Graham is one coach who has recently been gaining the most traction within the industry when it comes to the Florida job. Graham, who has a reputation for bouncing from job to job, could potentially settle in with the Gators after coaching at four different institutions over the last nine seasons. The former defensive back is indeed a defensive coach, but he has the quality that Foley is looking for as being someone with head coaching experience who understands the importance of a potent offense. The Sun Devils are currently ranked 18th in the FBS in points per game (37.2) under the leadership of offensive coordinator Mike Norvell, whom Florida tried to hire for Muschamp’s staff this past offseason. Norvell, it should be noted, was considered a candidate for smaller head coaching jobs last offseason and could remain at ASU as its coach if Graham was to leave. Norvell has been a part of Graham’s staffs at three separate schools since 2007.
Interviews, offers and the like are expected to kick into gear either this or next Sunday, depending which coach Foley decides to go after first. The regular season ends on Saturday, Nov. 29, with conference title games all played on Saturday, Dec. 6.
» Tuesday, November 25 «
4:15 p.m. – Florida has not offered its coaching job to any candidate. A message board post is not a report from a news outlet. As mentioned previously, athletic director Jeremy Foley was adamant that he would not discuss the opening with potential coaches until after the conclusion of their season either this or next Saturday.
11:15 a.m. – The Gainesville Sun‘s Pat Dooley released a list of obvious names that Florida would not be pursuing for its head coaching job last week. This week, he sent a tweet with some more substance, noting that the Gators would not be going after Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy or Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly. In a follow-up tweet, he noted that Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles is also not a candidate due to his show-cause penalty by the NCAA, which expires on Dec. 25. OnlyGators.com addressed multiple pros and cons for each of these candidates two weeks ago, and it should be noted another negative towards Chip Kelly’s candidacy is the fact that his regular season does not end until Dec. 28; athletic director Jeremy Foley said he wanted a hire in place before Christmas. OnlyGators.com has previously noted that Foley has no interest in coaches with NCAA issues, which would seemingly put Gundy, Chip Kelly and coaches like Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez out of contention. In other words, Dooley’s assertion about Chip Kelly is not a reach whatsoever, despite Kelly’s incredible success on both the college and pro levels.
As a veteran on the Florida beat, chances are Dooley has good intel for his notes about Stoops, Gundy and the Kellys. It should be noted, however, that it is still very early in the process and the Gators have not reached out to any candidates directly, contrary to some reports. Coaches not up for the Florida job now may jump into the picture as the process unfolds. To say anyone is truly eliminated, aside from a few obvious names, is a bit premature at this stage. It is also worth mentioning one reason why Stoops and Brian Kelly have always been unlikely candidates for Florida, aside from the fact that they are already well-paid coaches at top institutions: it is long-believed that the next step both men will make is to the NFL, not another college job.
» Saturday, November 22 «
8:45 p.m. – Clemson’s Dabo Swinney spoke extensively about speculation that he is interested in the Florida job. The following comes via the Twitter account of Aaron Brenner of the Charleston Post & Courier:
“I don’t pay attention to stuff like that. … It’s just a waste of time. There’s a time and place for stuff like that. And I’m not going to stand here and be one of these coaches that goes, ‘I will never leave Clemson.’ That’s not genuine. I have no idea. … But I will tell you this: I love Clemson. I love my job. I love it here. It would be very, very, very hard for me to leave Clemson. Now some people may be ready for me to pack up and leave, but my kids have grown up here. My baby was born here. They’ve gone to preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and I got two [kids] in high school. Tis isn’t just a job to me. I’m passionate about Clemson. I really feel like there’s nothing we can’t achieve here. I think we can win at the highest level. I know we can recruit at the highest level.
“My goal is to make this the model program in college football. This is not some stepping-stone job. But dynamics can change – ADs, presidents – and coaches make decisions on certain things. So never say never. I don’t think that’s genuine. But I love it here. I’m fully invested here. I’ve been here 12 years. SO I know some guys take jobs and it’s kind of the next job. But I’ve never been that guy. I want to bloom where I’m planted. This has been a special place for me and my family. So when people throw names out, I just keep moving forward. It’s a credit to our program for what we’ve been able to do here. But at the end of the day, this is much more than just a job to me. I truly, truly love the people. I love my players, there’s nothing we can’t do here. Nothing. I know sometimes we want it yesterday, but we’re building something special and it’s an honor to be a part of it.”
6:45 p.m. – Citing “three sources in the coaching community,” 247Sports.com‘s Ryan Bartow reports that Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy wants to be Florida’s next head coach and has been “letting his interest be known” through back channels. Of course, Gundy denied interest in the Gators job during his weekly press conference on Monday. “I don’t have any interest in other jobs,” he said. Gundy is set to earn between $3.0-3.5 million each season from now until 2019. He also has $600,000 contributed annually to his retirement account by the program. Should Gundy leave OSU before fulfilling the terms of his deal, he would lose much of the money in that account.
» Friday, November 21 «
5:45 p.m. – Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly was asked to address rumors that he is interested in the Florida opening, for which he decided to tease the media members posing the questions. “I’m going to Florida – in about two weeks to get some sun,” Kelly said earlier this week during the press conference. “I’m getting out of here with this weather. What are you, kidding me? So you can write that down. I’m going to Florida. Write it down now, get it out there get it on the news waves.” Kelly was asked a follow-up question about being a candidate for the job, to which he supplied another super-sarcastic reply. “Oh yeah. I’ve been interested in the Florida job. What else am I up for Anything else? Can I be up for the Notre Dame job? Because we are 7-3 right now, [and] I’m hoping to hold on to this job.” Hat tip to WNDU NBC for video of the statement.
2:33 p.m. FoxSports.com‘s Bruce Feldman threw out a name he sees as “intriguing” for Florida in Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen. “Doing well at [Wisconsin and I] heard he’s highly regarded by key [people with] #UF connections,” he wrote on Twitter. A former Utah center who has mostly served as a defensive coach, Andersen spent four years at Utah State from 2009-12), leading the Aggies to an 11-2 record in 2012. He took over the Badgers when Bret Bielema left for Arkansas and has seen some serious success in less than two full seasons. Andersen led Wisconsin to a 9-4 record in 2013 and currently has the team at 8-2 with losses to LSU and Northwestern and a win over Nebraska. Despite his defensive prowess, the Badgers are ranked 11th nationally in scoring offense (39.0 points per game) and third in scoring defense (15.3 points per game); however, Wisconsin has one of the worst passing offenses in the nation, gaining nearly three-quarters of its yard on the ground due in large part to the dominance of Heisman Trophy candidate Melvin Gordon (1,909 yards, 23 touchdowns).
10:50 a.m. You’ve heard this before. USA Today‘s Dan Wolken spoke with “several agents and others tied to the coaching search industry” to ask whether Florida is a legitimate top-four job nationally as it is often perceived. Their collective answer? No. Why? First, because of the Gators’ facilities – which are unfairly criticized, as OnlyGators.com detailed here. “It’s mind-boggling. That place should ahve the best facilities in the country. How is that allowed to happen?” one source told Wolken. Then of course, the argument about Florida fans’ “high expectations” comes into play. “Competing and winning isn’t enough, you have to be playing for championships, so there’s a lot of pressure,” another source told Wolken. This is often thrown in the Gators’ face because of how Steve Spurrier left and the health issues that Urban Meyer dealt, but the truth is that there is no coach of a major program should ever think their fans’ expectations are not championship-level high. Just ask Nick Saban what he thought when he took the job at Alabama, the team coached by Bear Bryant for 25 years.
10:45 a.m. – Though he has not been a name connected to the Florida opening from the start, Clemons’ Dabo Swinney was asked about the Gators job and felt the need to squash his interest in it during a conversation with the media late this week. “The more you sit around and talk about that kind of stuff, the more of a distraction it is,” Swinney said, according to TheBigSpur.com. “I love my job. I just signed a long-term contract because of that. And this is a place that’s special to me. And I’ve invested a lot here. My focus is 100 percent on winning here.”
» Thursday, November 20 «
3:20 p.m. – One name that has slowly built some momentum very early in the hiring process is Ole Miss’s Hugh Freeze, who despite coaching his hometown team and reportedly being in the process of working out an extension with his current program, would be a good fit on a number of levels for Florida. According to ESPN.com’s Derek Tyson, one of the areas in which Freeze and the Gators would marry well is in recruiting, as he has three assistants with ties to the state of Florida. And while no single recruit will have any say whatsoever in the ultimate hire at UF, five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson – a long-time Florida lean – explained why he would choose Freeze to replace Muschamp. “I think he would be a great choice at UF. My visit with him at Ole Miss was great,” he told Tyson. “He’s not only a great football coach, but he’s a great man. What he can bring to the table can be pretty special if he were to go there and get the place figured out.”
» Wednesday, November 19 «
7:25 p.m. – During an appearance on ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo show on Monday, NFL insider Chris Mortensen discussed the Florida opening with the program’s hosts. He made a similar comment to one OnlyGators.com wrote recently on Twitter and then talked about Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly and how he could be a candidate for the Gators.
“I think Jeremy Foley always thinks big. At the same time, I also heard him say today that he would like to get a coach in place by Christmas. The name that’s going to be always thrown out there in the NFL as of right now is Chip Kelly’s name. People want to say Jim Harbaugh, Chip Kelly is not leaving the Philadelphia Eagles early to be announced as the Florida coach. … Brett McMurphy reported Brian Kelly being one of the guys. The reason Brian Kelly is an interesting name – the Notre Dame coach – I’m hearing his name in NFL circles, so I do believe he’s probably a pretty serious candidate for the Florida job if he chooses to explore that. But he’s also in-season. That’s why you have agents to do that work. But there are NFL teams that look at Brian Kelly, see him as a CEO-type, a strength on the offensive side of the football. And Notre Dame, as great the tradition and the institution that it is, still has some restrictions. … That’s a name that I think people are looking at.”
It should be noted that Kelly and Mortensen – along with a bevy of other coaching candidates – are all represented by former Florida defensive end (now high-powered sports agent) Trace Armstrong, who still resides in Gainesville. If Kelly is indeed interested in going to the NFL – or simply getting a raise from the Fighting Irish – floating his name as a candidate for the Gators could certainly help get those desires accomplished.
7:20 p.m. – You know the UF coaching search is in full swing when an Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer cites a second-hand source – a booster of the Gators who is a friend of one of his friends who “knows a lot about college football” and “used to coach it” and is “in the Hall of Fame” – as saying in September that “Florida’s next coach would be Mike Shanahan.” Nevermind that Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley wanted absolutely nothing but for Muschamp to succeed and keep his job. Nevermind that Foley was so convinced Muschamp would turn things around that sources close to the program tell OnlyGators.com he did not even decide that candidates for the job would be necessary until after the Missouri loss. A friend of a friend told a writer in Georgia, at some point while Florida was 2-1 (at worst), that Shanahan – someone who has not coached college football in three decades and failed mightily at his last NFL stop – would be the next Gators coach. Alrighty then.
12:50 p.m. – Today has been slow, so the folks over at SB Nation decided to take six Florida coaching candidates, mock them up as superstars in the WWE 2K15 video game (complete with entrances, gear, mannerisms) and have them fight it out for the Gators job in a six-man, over-the-top battle royale. Check out all the videos, GIFs and explanations by clicking here. (Yes, that’s Steve Spurrier being eliminated second.)
» Tuesday, November 18 «
12:55 p.m. – Auburn’s Gus Malzahn told reporters Tuesday that he is “totally committed to” the Tigers, calling the program “one of the best jobs in college football,” according to the Associated Press‘s John Zenor. Malzahn signed a six-year contract extension worth $3.85 million per season back in January.
12:00 p.m. – Colorado State’s Jim McElwain also addressed the Gators’ vacancy, doing so during SiriusXM‘s College Sports Nation radio program on Tuesday, though he – like most coaches – did not discuss the job directly but rather skirted around the topic. “Colorado State University is a great place. Fort Collins is a great place to live, and we’ve got great leadership here,” he said, as transcribed by CoachingSearch.com. “That’s a good thing. When things and speculation come out, one of the things I was brought here to do was to put the word of Colorado State out there. Every time there’s any kind of mention, it’s all led with ‘Colorado State University.’ You know what? That’s part of the job I was hired to do.”
9:42 a.m. – Marshall’s Doc Holliday addressed Monday night’s report and his potential interest in the Florida job when he was asked by Sports Illustrated‘s Zac Ellis on Tuesday. “The only concern I have right now is preparing this football team for the next three weeks. That’s the only concern I have,” he said.
» Monday, November 17 «
10:43 p.m. – FootballScoop.com reported late Monday night that Marshall’s Doc Holliday is “very much a candidate” for the Florida job. Holliday, UF’s assistant head coach from 2005-07 under Urban Meyer, currently has the Thundering Herd at 10-0 and is an interesting fit for the Gators for a number of reasons, all of which are detailed here.
9:51 p.m. – ESPN‘s NFL insider Adam Schefter reported during halftime of Monday Night Football that former Gators offensive coordinator and NFL head coach Mike Shanahan is not interested in coaching college. Shanahan was never a legitimate option for Florida, especially considering he has not coached at the college level in three decades.
7:00 p.m. – The Bovada sportsbook posted odds for Florida’s next coach at 2 p.m. and initially had Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy as a 4/1 favorite to take the job. “That’s crazy,” replied Gundy when informed of this during his weekly press conference. “I don’t have any interest in other jobs,” he added. Bovada’s odds as of this update:
Bob Stoops 9/2 | Mike Gundy 9/2 | Jim McEwain 11/2 | Dan Mullen 6/1
Mike Shanahan 8/1 | Rich Rodriguez 17/2 | Hugh Freeze 10/1 | Steve Spurrier 10/1
Gary Patterson 14/1 | Gus Malzahn 14/1 | Jim Tressel 15/1 | Greg Schiano 20/1
3:16 p.m. – Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork told the Associated Press‘s David Brandt that the program is already in talks with Hugh Freeze about a contract extension. An Oxford, Mississippi, native, Freeze has already been extended by the Rebels twice, per the AP, and is a no-brainer for the program to lock up. “I don’t discuss my job status – good or bad,” Freeze said when asked about the Gators opening. “I don’t think anything good comes of that. My family and I are extremely happy in Oxford.”
2:22 p.m. – Colorado State’s Jim McElwain is an interesting candidate who meets many of Foley’s criteria for his next hire. But there is a big road block, a $7.5 million buyout clause in his CSU contract. As NCAA compliance blogger John Infante notes, that buyout would jump to $13.5 million if McElwain gets his program into a College Football Playoff game, though that is obviously unlikely. Nevertheless, the Gators are on the hook for $6.3 million in a Muschamp buyout and potentially $8 million total in staff payments if other assistants are not retained. Coupling that chunk of money with McElwain’s buyout would be a lot to ask, though there are ways that programs can come to mutually-beneficial agreements to either reduce or avoid buyout payments, such as negotiating terms of the buyout or scheduling games for a school to get a high-profile opponent and nice payout.
1:27 p.m. – Texas’s Charlie Strong smirked when asked early in his press conference about his interest in the Florida opening. “I have a great job here. We have a lot of work to get done here,” he said.
1:11 p.m. – Now an analyst on the SEC Network, former Auburn coach Gene Chizik praised the prestige that is coaching at UF. “In coaching circles, [Florida is a] top-three [job]. No disrespect to Miami or FSU, ‘the University of’ counts. It does.”
11:11 a.m. – Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops dismissed interest of being an option for the Gators job during his weekly press conference. “All I want to be is a candidate at Oklahoma. I’m not a candidate anywhere else,” he said. “I’m finished with that question.”
10:37 a.m. – ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy reported via Twitter that neither Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen nor Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez were considered candidates for the Florida opening. OnlyGators.com on Sunday detailed the specific reasons why neither Mullen nor Rodriguez are ideal options for the Gators.
» Sunday, November 16 «
2:06 p.m. – In his weekly press conference, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier denied interest in the Gators job, reiterating a position he stated one week earlier. “I’ve already had my run at Florida. I think everybody knows that. They need to hire a coach that hopefully will be there 10 years. That’s what all athletic directors do, they hire a coach sort of going on the assumption he’s going to be there at least 10 years,” he said.[/EXPAND]