Who will replace Urban Meyer as head coach?

By Adam Silverstein
December 26, 2009

With the shock of the resignation of Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer still ringing through the ears of Gator Nation, one of the major questions arising is a simple one: “Who will replace him?” OGGOA has complied a list of the most likely and most rumored candidates that could replace Meyer:

Check out the full list of potential replacements after the jump!!!

Dan Mullen
Head Coach – Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mullen, who has been coaching since 1994, was hired by Meyer as his quarterbacks coach with Bowling Green in 2001 and remained with him through his stops in Utah and Florida, where he would become Meyer’s offensive coordinator. He left after the 2008 season to take the head coaching job with the Mississippi State Bulldogs and led them to a 5-7 record in his first season.

Charlie Strong
Head Coach – Louisville Cardinals

A veteran coach who has been on the Florida staff four different times throughout his career, Strong recently left the Gators to become the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals after seven years with Florida and five years under Meyer. Considered one of the best defensive coordinators in the country at the time of his hire, Strong has signed an offer sheet with Louisville but has yet to sign his contract.

Kyle Whittingham
Head Coach – Utah Utes

Hand-picked to replace Meyer as head coach of the Utah Utes upon his departure, Whittingham has coached since 1985 and has been with Utah since 1994. Since taking over the regins, Whittingham’s Utes have had seven-, eight-, nine-, 10- and 13-win seasons including a victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.

Bobby Petrino
Head Coach – Arkansas Razorbacks

Though he has been coaching professionally for 26 years, Petrino received his first head coach job with Louisville in 2003. Considered one of Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley’s top options when he eventually head coach Ron Zook to succeed Steve Spurrier, Petrino would end up staying at Louisville before leaving for the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons. He lasted less than a season in the pros and returned to the SEC with the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2008 where he has had 5-7 and 7-5 seasons.

Bob Stoops
Head Coach – Oklahoma Sooners

The Gators’ defensive coordinator from 1996-98, Stoops has been head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners for the last decade. He recently turned down an opportunity to leave Oklahoma for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and has said he plans to stay with the Sooners for the immediate future.

Kevin Sumlin
Head Coach – Houston Cougars

Sumlin made an immediate impact when he took over the Houston Cougars, leading them to an eight-win season in 2008 (his first year) and a 10-3 record in 2009. One of the few early candidates who lack a connection to Meyer, Foley or Florida, Sumlin is one of the hottest names in coaching and is reported to be under consideration by the Gainesville Sun.

Gary Patterson
Head Coach – TCU Horned Frogs

Winner of six “Coach of the Year” awards and the 2009 Woody Hayes Trophy, Patterson has won three conference championships while with the TCU Horned Frogs, where he has coached since 2000. TCU has had six seasons of 10 or more wins in Patterson’s tenure including their first BCS bowl appearance this year in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.

Mike Shanahan
Former Head Coach – Denver Broncos

Along with Petrino, Shanahan was the other name on Foley’s short list for coaching hires when replacing Spurrier because of his three-year tenure as offensive coordinator with the Gators. Leaving Gainesville, FL, Shanahan joined the Denver Broncos as a wide receivers coach and eventually became head coach of the team from 1995-2008. Fired last season, Shanahan took the year off and is currently mulling potential offers from the Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and other NFL teams.

Chris Petersen
Former Head Coach – Boise State Broncos

A 22-year coaching veteran, Petersen has been head coach of Boise State since 2006 and led the school to a 48-4 record in that time. At the top of his profession, Petersen has never had less than a 10-win season while at the helm and has taken the non-BCS conference Broncos to two Fiesta Bowls in a four-year span. Peterson won the Bryant Award for National Coach of the Year in 2006.

Bronco Mendenhall
Former Head Coach – BYU Cougars

Mendenhall has been coaching BYU for as long as Meyer has been with Florida, taking the Cougars to five Las Vegas Bowls and four-consecutive seasons of at least 10 wins. Though he has never coached at a major program or in a big-time bowl game, Mendenhall is a young up-and-comer who could be a surprise on Foley’s list.


  1. travis ritch says:

    what about jon gruden?

  2. Jeff Taylor says:

    Will Muschamp the DC at Texas. He ought to be on any list. Even though I assume he is the heir to be at Texas.

  3. OrangeHulk says:

    How about the oc for the atl falcons. He is an extra gator TE and his name escapes me.

  4. Aligator says:

    Dan Mullen will be the next HC and UM will be the ambassador and will mentor him!

  5. Jeff – he’s “in waiting” for the job.

    Aligator – I think you are right-on

    Travis – Gruden is staying at ESPN in 2010.

  6. Mr2Bits says:

    Patterson would be a steal. Strong next and then Whittingham

  7. Evan says:

    How about Spurrier?

  8. brlgator says:

    i dont want mullen. you think billy gonzalez would have stayed if he knew UM was stepping down? what about charlie? he s gotta be thinking he finally gets an opportunity and then UF job opens up. stoooooooooooooooooooopppppppppppppppssssssssssssss

  9. vsherrel says:

    Stoops had his shot. I hope Foley doesnt even call that joker. As for “in waiting,” what good is that? Brown just got an extension. Muschamp would be a fool not to jump on this job. Muschamp, then Mullen.

  10. brlgator says:

    stoops then gruden then muschamp

  11. brlgator says:

    then gary patterson

  12. Theo says:

    Muschamp would be my choice. Mack Brown just re signed for another 5 years. No way Muschamp stays as DC for another 5 before taking over.

  13. ko classic says:

    could tony dungy be a candidate?
    a coaching website just listed Mushcamp(sp?) as a candidate
    didn’t he play at UGA?

  14. ReptilesRule says:

    No retreads please but someone with head coaching experience please. Someone “younger” and energetic that will be enthused about embracing the culture of the Gator Nation like Coach Meyer has done. Maybe Peterson or Whittingham. Please please…no hired gun like Petrino.

  15. uf_84 says:

    Steal Charlie Strong back from Louisville and bring Kerwin Bell over from JU to be OC. Strong deserves this chance and will be able to keep most of this good recruiting class, and bring in better ones in the future. He also will ensure great defence continues to be played. No one knows Johney Brantly better than Bell who coached him in high school, and his offence’s have been great at JU.

  16. Gatorfan33 says:

    I want no part of Petrino and Stoops can’t win a bowl game if you spot him 2 TD’s. I would like to say Mullen or Strong will be the next HC but I am not so sure that is what is going to happen. Patterson just signed a huge extension with TCU so I doubt it will be him. Whittingham looks to be a very good choice and I think Shanny takes an NFL job this year.

  17. GATORBAIT says:




  18. rabbit says:

    please people the gator coach needs to be some one who has a proven record strong and mullen need to prove them selves yet yes they r great cordinators but the verdict is still out there if they can run the show
    i think this job requires a proven winner some one who can come in with confidence and win and someone the recrutes will love playing for so why not a superbowl winning coach like Cower ,Dungi or even Gruden
    however I think gruden was just blessed with a team that Dungi built . What young recruit woulnt want to play for a Superbowl winning coach I know if i was being recruited by one that is who I play for just food for thought

  19. gatorfan4life says:

    get real people we need a prove coach ,this is to important of a job to give it to a pretender or a snake like petrino

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