In the last decade, much has been made about Florida's basketball and football success. Since 2000, Florida has appeared in five BCS games, three Final Fours, won two basketball National Championships and two football National Championships. While Steve Spurrier, Billy Donovan and Urban Meyer get the credit, the steady hand of Jeremy Foley never gets enough credit for Florida's success.
Foley has been athletic director since 1992, which means he has rings from Florida's 1996 National Championship and 1994 Final Four. He has also maintained and created national powers in men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, women's volleyball, women's soccer, gymnastics, softball, swimming and diving, track, and rebuilt baseball literally and figuratively (replacing head coaches and expanding McKethan Stadium at the same time). Aside from the disastrous hires of Carolyn Peck (women's basketball) and Ron Zook, Foley has been nearly flawless.
[On a personal note, every time I've interacted with Foley, he was a cool dude. My ex-girlfriend and I ate dinner next to him and a party of 10 at the old Pio's Pasta on Southwest 20th. For two hours, he talked about the MLB Draft. For a seamhead like me, it was epic. Another time, Hanson and I were shooting video in Ben Hill Griffin when Foley walked past us and said, "Sup, gents?" This was a big deal compared to Urban stiffing us or Donovan waiving as he got into his SUV.]
Foley has earned an untouchable spot in the Florida administration and his hiring of Muschamp proves it. There was no leak because Foley was able to work without the influence of Bull Gators or those guys on the message boards who claim to work for the UAA. Foley picked out his man and worked on his own, avoiding the Usual Suspects for someone who could be his own man in Gainesville. Foley made this hire with the best interest of the future of the Gators, not a present that is worried about Urban Meyer wanting to be the UAA's Bill Parcells.
Picking Muschamp specifically could prove to be a huge boost for the Gators. Florida has a lot of money, but it did not get to this point by spending it all. Muschamp was a value signing for the Gators and could be the lead of a Murderer's Row of Coaches.
Let's say Muschamp makes about $2-2.5 million a year. Muschamp will make $2.7 million per year. This is where Foley's genius comes in. Since he is paying for a guy who was good enough to be Texas' future coach at a discount and without a buyout, Foley can spend a lot on coordinators. That is why Kirby Smart, one of the highest paid coordinators, could be stolen from Alabama. We don't know who the offensive coordinator will be, but they will likely have the same pedigree as Muschamp or Smart. That is good for Florida.
If Florida gets Smart and an offensive coordinator that can move the needle, Foley would have pulled off a huge coup. And they just happened to do it on the day when an ancient rival was celebrating a Heisman with a player that used to go to Florida. I'm sure Foley thought of that, because the man apparently thinks of everything.