The Associated Press has confirmed that Will Muschamp will be named the next coach of the Florida Gators. Chris Mortensen reports that Florida AD Jeremy Foley met with Muschamp in Austin today, and offered the position. Muschamp is the defensive coordinator at Texas, and previously served as defensive coordinator at Auburn, the Miami Dolphins and LSU. He played at Georgia in the early 1990s. On Wednesday, Urban Meyer resigned, meaning Foley moved extremely quickly to make this hire.
“This is a dream come true to be the head coach of the Florida Gators,” said Muschamp, who lived in Gainesville for 10 years growing up. “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.”
Muschamp was defensive coordinator under Nick Saban when LSU won the 2003 National Championship. In 2006, his Auburn defense gave Florida their only loss of the season. Muschamp joined Texas in 2008, and was named "Coach in waiting" behind Mack Brown. However, Joe Schad says there was zero buyout, which means UF might be getting value in this hire.
It was anticipated that Foley would hire someone with head coaching experience. Rumors had Foley talking to Dan Mullen or Chris Petersen or Bob Stoops. The hire of Muschamp is brilliant if it works, but a mess if it doesn't. Florida has the money to hire 95 percent of college coaches. Foley told Gatorzone that Muschamp was "the only person we met with and the only person we offered the job to."
On Wednesday, Meyer said he would want to stay involved with the program. But with the Muschamp hire and this terse quote, I doubt that Urban will get an office in Ben Hill Griffin. From Gatorzone.
“He’s a tremendous recruiter,’’ Meyer said. “I have bumped into him many times over the years on the road while on recruiting trips.’’
There is something else to consider here, totally unrelated to the actual hire; UF has spilled this news during Cam Newton's Heisman trophy ceremony. I'd like to think that UF isn't vindicative enough to ruin Newton's night. But they might have leaked that he was a cheater at UF and the Gainesville Sun wrote a fresh report this week about how Newton stole a student's laptop, tried to hide the evidence and used it illegally. As a Gator fan, I approve of this destruction of Newton.
Muschamp has already learned that he needs to throw some red meat at the fans.
“I want our team to play hard, with relentless effort and with toughness. We want to make the Gator Nation proud.”
The introductory press conference will be Tuesday.
The first question should be, "Who will be the offensive coordinator?"
Update: Orangebloods.com is reporting that Major Applewhite, the former Texas QB and current running backs coach, will join the Gators as offensive coordinator. ESPN's Bruce Feldman is reporting, not so fast. Gainesville Sun writer Ed Aschoff says it is Applewhite.
Applewhite is also a member of the Nick Saban and Mack Brown coaching trees. However, he only had one season under Saban at Alabama, which was the season Bama was so awful that they lost 21-14 to Louisiana-Monroe.