Florida head coach Jim McElwain and Florida president Kent Fuchs are each in their honeymoon periods with Gator Nation. They used that to their advantage on Wednesday, and did something remarkable: They pulled off a funny April Fools' Day joke. (Well, sort of.)
It started with the story on the front page of Wednesday's edition of The Independent Florida Alligator, tweeted out by Florida's official @UF Twitter account in the middle of the night:
"@PresidentFuchs takes field, @CoachMcElwain takes paycut" /via @TheAlligator http://t.co/TAqfv1GyOd pic.twitter.com/rhByd61BOV— Univ of Florida (@UF) April 1, 2015
That story was actually posted at 1:23 a.m. on Wednesday, and it features an incredibly well-done YouTube video — posted by Florida's official athletics account on YouTube.
From there, well, we got the best-executed April Fools' Day joke I've seen in a while.
Good morning, #GatorNation. Time to get to work. Check out my new office! pic.twitter.com/HdFg0XMQH8— Coach Fuchs (@PresidentFuchs) April 1, 2015
I got this. #NoProblem #ItsGreatUF https://t.co/AQZvKgTBMC— Pres. Jim McElwain (@CoachMcElwain) April 1, 2015
WITH OUR NEW ...COACH?..FUCHS? @PresidentFuchs @UF @GatorZoneFB pic.twitter.com/iXIYWAU4DN— milesNdMILESof_riles (@Tee_Riles) April 1, 2015
Squad. #GoGators pic.twitter.com/cRP0z7o8QV— Coach Fuchs (@PresidentFuchs) April 1, 2015
Ya know, I'm really enjoying this gig so far. #ItsGreatUF http://t.co/vYBMW0iyBy pic.twitter.com/eS7nBrjzPZ— Pres. Jim McElwain (@CoachMcElwain) April 1, 2015
Fuchs's Twitter account, @PresidentFuchs, got a new display name ("Coach Fuchs"), avatar, and website — his GatorZone bio.
First university president to coach an @SEC football team. Go Gators! http://t.co/3Ty76rmYVg pic.twitter.com/75Y9zODUSS— Coach Fuchs (@PresidentFuchs) April 1, 2015
And while it took a bit longer on the university side, McElwain's @CoachMcElwain Twitter account eventually swapped over to "Pres. Jim McElwain," and his bio was posted on UF's website.
Looks like they've added my bio to the @UF website. Piece of cake! http://t.co/SPOF2H9QPG pic.twitter.com/LGBJ15Tp8H— Pres. Jim McElwain (@CoachMcElwain) April 1, 2015
This is, of course, a patentely ridiculous idea that no one with a thimble's worth of sense would ever believe, and thus not a "perfect" April Fools' Day joke, because it couldn't really be believed — but the incredible commitment to the ruse is what makes it so funny. Fuchs and McElwain, and by extension UF and UAA leadership, were okay with The Alligator running a headline that said "McElwain takes paycut" as part of a joke (and GatorZone's lead story today is just a link to that Alligator article), and worked with the newspaper to take video and photos for use in the joke.
And GatorZone mocked up a graphic with an image of Fuchs with a headset on for its season tickets banner, and it replaced McElwain with Fuchs on the coaching staff page. The UF president's site didn't do the same, merely replacing Fuchs's bio with McElwain's, but that's impressive hustle regardless.
This is something that Fuchs and McElwain — who have been in their jobs at Florida since December and January, respectively — can do because of blank slates and honeymoon periods and all that good stuff. The same joke, with the same execution, would not have worked as well with Bernie Machen and Will Muschamp in April 2014.
But that explanation kind of ruins the joke, no?
Happy April Fools' Day, everyone. You're never topping this. Go Gators!