When Urban Meyer resigned as head football coach of the Florida Gators on Wednesday, athletic director Jeremy Foley had already known for four days. After Meyer explained his decision to Foley the prior Saturday, the man who hired him in the first place and is one of the best at his position in the country compiled a list of the top coaches in the nation who could re place him.
That list did not contain Texas Longhorns defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.
In an interview conducted with GatorZone senior writer Scott Carter on Monday, Foley admitted that his first list contained “all the names that everybody has talked about” except for one. “Will wasn’t on that list,” he said.
It wasn’t until Sunday morning that Foley began “thinking Muschamp,” realizing he could very well end up being the right guy for the job. “The more research you did on Will and the more you read about him, the more you watched him […] his familiarity with this league really intrigued me. When we got back [to Gainesville, FL], we kind of honed in on him very, very quickly.”
After sending Meyer off into the proverbial sunset three days later, Foley got on the horn with Muschamp – the first of many calls between the two men. As OGGOA previously reported, Foley flew over to Austin, TX, Saturday morning, met with Muschamp all day and eventually left with a new head coach.
“We obviously had done a lot of research on this,” Foley said. “After we sat down with him for that length of time, it was pretty evident early on that this was the guy. I think when people meet him tomorrow night [at the press conference] they will see that. […] He has a great plan to win. He wants to be here. He is ready to be a head coach in our opinion. And when you talk face-to-face, it’s impressive.”
One other note: Contrary to popular opinion, Florida hoped to announce its hiring of Muschamp after the Heisman Trophy ceremony and did not wish to upstage the event in any way. According to Carter, he plan was for Muschamp to speak with his family and Texas officials while Florida’s contingent returned to Gainesville to set everything up.
“UF officials sought to work with the Heisman Trophy Committee to make sure the news broke after the Heisman ceremony in New York, but once the news leaked out beforehand, UF sent out an official release to confirm the news for the media,” Carter explained on Monday.
Photo Credit: Associated Press