Florida Gators: Coaches Hot Board

The Will Muschamp tenure at Florida will end on Saturday, November 29 2014 when the Florida Gators travel to Tallahassee to take on the Seminoles.

Following Florida’s sixth home loss in their last eight tries Jeremy Foley made the tough decision to part ways with Muschamp and will begin a coaching search in earnest this week.

“The search will begin immediately, this afternoon,” Foley said on Monday morning. “There is no fixed time timetable but we will proceed as quickly as we can. There is a lot of work to do, a lot of research to do. We understand how important this hire is for this university.”

It’s been five full years since the Gators have played for a SEC Championship in Atlanta. Foley knows that this hire may — fairly or unfairly — define his career at the University of Florida.

“Foley loosely defined his criteria saying, “We’re going to find [a coach], because this place is a special place, this place, we talk about high character, a championship experience with integrity, you got to find that individual that fits in that.”

With the coaching search under way, Gator Country has complied a list of names that will surely (and have already) popped up as possible candidates to replace Muschamp.

The Popular Names
1. Bob Stoops — Oklahoma — 54 years old
The former assistant under Steve Spurrier, Stoops’ name is thrown around every time there is a job opening at Florida. Stoops was apart of Florida’s first national championship team in 1996 and is a beloved man in Gainesville and across Gator Nation.

Why he would come:
Things seem to have hit a lull at Oklahoma. Stoops is 7-3 (4-3 Big 12) this season. After 15 years in Norman it could be time for a change of scenery fro Stoops.

Why he wouldn’t:
Unless Stoops really is looking for that change of scenery it doesn’t make sense to leave Oklahoma where he makes $5.25 million annually.

2. Hugh Freeze — Ole Miss — 45 years old
In just his third season, Freeze has revitalized Oxford Mississippi and Ole Miss. Freeze is a relentless recruiter and shocked the world two years ago hauling in one of the best recruiting classes in the country. His team is 8-2 this season but will be without starting quarterback Bo Wallace next year.

Why he would come:
Freeze is getting some of the best players in the country to choose Ole Miss, he would make a killing on the recruiting trail in the state of Florida. The SEC East is decidedly much easier than the SEC West and has been since 2010. Getting on the other side of the conference from Nick Saban would be a plus.

Why he wouldn’t:
Freeze received a contract extension after last season and rumor has it that Ole Miss is working on yet another extension for their head coach. Freeze was also born in Oxford. He also has a loaded roster due to his recruiting success but that success also has the NCAA sniffing around Ole Miss. This will raise a red flag for Foley as he begins searching for a coach.

3. Todd Graham — Arizona State — 49 years old (will be 50 on December, 5)
Graham is a hot name as he has led Arizona State to a solid 8-2 record this season, following a 10-4 campaign last year. Graham has had success everywhere he has been. A defensive mind, Graham has been able to find good offensive coaches all along the way.

Why he would come:
Graham has bounced around a bit. He left Rice for Tulsa after just one year. After Tulsa he coached Pittsburgh to a 6-6 season before informing the administration there that he had had discussed the opening at Arizona State. Graham subsequently left Pittsburgh after just one season and informed his team that he was leaving via a text message that was forwarded to them through the director of football operations.

Graham hasn’t hesitated to make a move to advance his career and becoming the head coach at Florida would certainly do that.

Why he wouldn’t:
Not to challenge Graham’s character but Foley will look to find someone similar to Muschamp in the way that he cares for and handles his players. Foley would need to look in to that and will do his due diligence.

4. Rich Rodriguez — Arizona — 50 years old
Rich Rodriguez was reportedly eliminated from consideration according to Brent McMurphy of ESPN. Rodriguez’s time at Michigan led to NCAA sanctions and Michigan has still yet to recover to being a player in the Big 10 since his time at the school.

5. Dan Mullen — Mississippi State — 46
Mullen was also on the two-person list that McMurphy said would not be getting a phone call. Mullen reportedly had issues and a less than great relationship dating back to his time at Florida.

6. Gary Patterson — TCU — 54
Patterson is a defensive mind but he has the acumen to hire great offensive minds. This season, TCU has the fourth total offense, eighth passing attack and the fourth scoring offense.

Why he would come:
Patterson has taken a small, private school that was mixed in with the also-rans in the state of Texas. He has proven that he can build a program up from close to nothing and keep them playing at a high level for years.

Why he wouldn’t:
Patterson has spent the last 15 years at TCU. He’s had plenty of opportunities to leave the school but hasn’t.

Continue to our message board for the rest of the list. We’ll keep updating as the weeks go on and


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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC


    • McDaniel is the guy I like a lot but he has no college coaching experience. Kelly will be tough to get because he’s still learning the NFL and Mora is a good hire but I’m not sure he wants to leave UCLA.

  1. mentioned early on another post … Brian Schottenhmier, a GATOR tutored under SOS and has at least 2 “O” coordinator jobs in the pro’s … another would be Jay Gruden he just maybe sick and tired of the politically incorrect Redskins job he won championships at the area football level was a pro “O” coordinator and is a pro head coach and he’s very “O” minded