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December 26, 2009

Candidates to Replace Meyer?

With the news that Urban Meyer is stepping down from the Florida Gators. Jeremy Foley will have his hands full with this replacement. Meyer is arguably the best coach in all of college football, and if he's not the best who is? Pete Carroll? Nick Saban? Neither of them is leaving their current gigs to be the head coach of the Gators.

Next on the list of "best coaches in college"...based on recent accomplishments...would include guys like Bob Stoops and Cheaty McSweaterVest. Regardless...if you had the #1 and now have something other than the #1 coach, you're not moving forward.

Some thoughts on the possible list:
  • Bob Stoops (Oklahoma) - the obvious and likely first call for Foley. Former Gator DC and an exceptional coach, but he turned the Gators down in 2001 after Spurrier left. Why would he leave now? It won't be for money. He's already the 3rd highest paid coach in college football at $4.3 million per year (Mack Brown was bumped to $5 million after that list was published by USAToday. He already made more than Meyer. It's not like OU can't match the Gators. Wouldn't it make more sense for his next move to be the NFL?

  • Kyle Whittingham (Utah) - Whittingham is 47-17 in five years at Utah after replacing Meyer as head coach of the Utes. The signature moment for Whittingham obviously being the victory over Bama in the Sugar Bowl. The resume isn't as thick or impressive as Meyer's was when he took over, but I think it's the same offensive system which should make the recruiting pitch very easy for the Gators. He currently makes $1.2 million/year.

  • Jon Gruden (ESPN) - Gruden once said that he would've liked to have been contacted about the HC job instead of Ron Zook in 2001. He currently has a sweet job at ESPN which lets him pick and choose between NFL gigs that pay extremely well. He will likely get a call from Foley this time. Hasn't recruited since 1991, and only coached in college for about 4 of the past 25 years. Would obviously excite the Gator fan base.

  • Charlie Strong (Louisville) - Pat Forde, who knows more about the Louisville program than any national talking head, says Strong hasn't signed his contract with the Cardinals yet. If Foley calls, it'll be hard to say no. Strong is probably a MORE viable candidate for the job because of being hired by Lville. Everyone is prettier when someone else wants them.
To me, those are the 4 most interesting candidates. Here are the guys I don't think are going to get it.
  • Dan Mullen -- A short resume and Year 1 at MSU just wasn't that impressive. I'd wager that Meyer gives Foley a list of suggested candidates including Strong, Whittingham and Mullen. But it's Foley's job on the line with the hire. Not Meyer's.

  • Mike Shanahan - Former Gator assistant from '80-'83 who turned down the job in 2001. Shanahan is 57, and he's about to become one of the highest paid coaches in the NFL. I doubt Foley will give Shanahan the opportunity to turn him down again.

  • Steve Spurrier (SC) - The head ball coach will turn 65 before the start of next season. I just can't see any way this happens unless Foley panics and Spurrier is the "rescue us" hire.

  • Bobby Petrino - Foley isn't going to hire a career job whore. Sexton will get him a pay raise anyway.

  • Butch Davis - Davis is 58 years old. He knows the State of Florida recruiting base inside and out from his Miami days. However, he is a cancer survivor who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in March 2007. He would be a great fit, but I can't see Foley hiring anyone with well known health issues.

  • Chris Petersen (Boise) - He hasn't gotten a serious look at jobs in the Pacific Northwest where they know him the best.

  • Tommy Tuberville - Jimmy Sexton will make everyone think he's part of this process, but I think the BullGators would shit a cow if he were hired. They are looking for something sexier.
The four top candidates are all intriguing, but this isn't a lay-up search. The program has the highest expectations of any in sport right now, and their fans have zero patience or perspective. Most of them starting following the program after 1990, and they have no idea what "normal" adversity is beyond the Zook years. The fact that they haven't sold out their allotment of tickets to the Sugar Bowl is NOT an isolated incident. They are a fickle lot, and it's a pressure cooker job.

Don't get me wrong. It's one of the best programs in college football with a massive war chest. But the job comes with serious hair on it due to the pressure and expectations.

The biggest winner will be Jimmy Sexton. He'll have every one of his clients looking like a candidate for the job.

The obvious and best choice is simply Chan Gailey. A 1973 graduate of the University Florida, Gailey would take the job and embrace all their traditions immediately. Foley, make this happen.

Who else should be on the list?



Irwin R. Flecther said...

I think you probably have the name on the initial list, but as long as we are throwing out long shots...

Mike Mularky- Former Florida Tight End (I can't see his former boss, Cowher, doing it)- HC Pittsburgh and current OC with the ATL Falcons

Butch Davis- If we are reaching for guys like Butch Davis, we probably have gone too far.

It's got to be Stoops. It is the quintessential Roy Williams replaces the Dean hire. I love that OU plays on CBS...maybe Stoops can cuss out Bonnie Bernstein after the game.

JasonC said...

I think Dogs should find Foley's address and make Chan Gailey the write-in candidate winner.

Sam, Dawg Fan said...

Mularkey was never the HC at Pittsburgh.

I do not see it being one of the out of work pro coaches. Heck if you want a good rumor, then go with Dungy. He has ties to the state, right?

Not sure Stoops would come to UF. One of the supposed reasons he did not consider ND was because of the media coverage. I cannot see UF being any better.

What about Rich Rodriguez? I bet UM would not put up a fuss.

How about the Villanova or Temple coach?

I figure if I keep tossing out names one of them will be right.

I wonder if Mullen is thinking "Damn, if I had just waited one more year and not jump at the first girl who said 'yes'"!

Crane said...

Kyle Whittingham is the logical choice.

Andy said...

I have no clue. But if Gailey takes over, I'll have died and gone to Heaven.

jimmycrackedcorndawg said...

If Gailey had waited another week before taking the Tech job, he would have been the slamdunk pick in '01 over The Zooker. Hence, it appears Gailey was Charlie Strong before Charlie was.

Hobnail_Boot said...

It doesn't matter.

Nancy Drew could be coaching the Gators and they'd still beat our asses.

Unknown said...

hobnail - bull crap.

Mr. Sanchez said...

Irwin, Mularkey was head coach for Buffalo, not Pittsburgh. He was an OC under Cowher I believe.

And Roy Williams didn't follow Dean Smith. Smith was followed by Bill Guthridge, then Matt Doherty took it down into the crapper, before Roy came back to save them from his former asst at Kansas in Doherty.

And until otherwise indicated, my money is on Dan Mullen. He didn't do great at Miss St, but he did pretty well considering what Croom left him. But more in line, he is almost a perfect image of Anthony Grant/Billy Donovan, and Foley should like the idea one year removed from the program but had been with Meyer since Utah if not Bowling Green so what should be a smooth transition scheme wise, rules wise, just overall set up, but has at least some experience and level of success on their own, this team in the SEC.

Anonymous said...

I personally wouldn't mind it being Mullen. He's doing some good things at Miss. State - I'm concerned about our trip there in 2010. At least his moving to Florida would set Miss. State back a little bit, even if not Florida.

Ollllddude said...

Good work, Mr. Westerdawg, except I do think you underrate Mullen. The guy's coaching at Starkville for crying out loud!! I think he did better than most people had any right to expect. I am not saying he will get the job or even an interview, but still, the past season at MSU is no reason to think he couldn't do the job.

HiAltDawg said...

I think Petersen might get a closer look then one might think. Foley's hit home runs before so it might be something out of the blue. I think Rich Rod and maybe even Coach Leach at TTech might get a look.

Smitty said...

Coach Leach is a nutjob. He won't get a look at Florida.

Sam, Dawg Fan said...

I cannot see Leach. In the SEC you have to have a good to great defense to win. Leach cannot spell defense.

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