Florida is all-in on its fourth coaching search of the last decade, and after firing a coach in Dan Mullen who won New Year’s Six Bowls in his first two years, has an SEC East title under his belt and finished with a 34-15 record, it’s imperative that the school gets this hire right.
A lot of names have been brought up for this opening, some fairly realistic (Oregon‘s Mario Cristobal, Louisiana’s Billy Napier), some not so much (Bob Stoops!). During the silly season known as the coaching carousel, it can be hard to parse fact from fiction. However, in a report for ESPN, Adam Rittenberg breaks down a number of candidates and updates the direction the search seems to be moving in.
Here’s what he had to say.
Florida needs an A-list recruiter who embraces every element of the process, especially in a talent-rich state, and arguably no realistic Florida candidate brings a better combination of insatiable recruiting and in-state ties than Oregon coach Mario Cristobal. Few head coaches not named Nick Saban or Kirby Smart push recruiting like Cristobal, who has built excellent rosters at Oregon. Cristobal, 51, grew up in Miami, played at the U, spent three years as a Hurricanes assistant and then held the reins as Florida International’s head coach for six.
Florida could soon target Louisiana’s Napier, whose name has been mentioned for all the SEC openings in recent years, as well as Baylor two years ago and TCU and Virginia Tech this year. A jump to the SEC has long seemed to make the most sense for Napier, who is 31-5 the past three seasons at Louisiana. Florida is the type of job that should tempt Napier to leave a very comfortable spot. Napier understands the region from his time at Clemson and Alabama.
It would take a special situation for Bob Stoops to return to the sideline, but Florida absolutely…