As the shock waves created by the surprise resignation of Florida Gator head coach Urban Meyer spread throughout the sports community, many are preparing for the parade of announcements—some expected, others not—that will color and initially define what will become the most publicized job search in recent sports history.
Many will offer guesses as to who will become the next head coach of the Gators but in reality the task of selecting a replacement for the most accomplished football coach in Florida history won’t be made until certain personalities have had their say…
Charlie Strong — Louisville Head Coach
Recently hired by Louisville, Strong will immediately make an announcement that he is not interested in accepting the Gator head coaching slot. If Strong is as smart as we all think he is then he will spend three years rebuilding the Cardinals before returning to Gainesville perhaps to repair the Gators too…
Dan Mullen—Mississippi State Head Coach
Like Strong, Mullen has something to prove before returning to Florida. Mullen needs to find a defensive identity to go along with his offensive genius. He needs to learn how to be completely responsible for a recruiting program as well. Mullen needs to claim no interest in this position as soon as possible.
Steve Spurrier—South Carolina Head Coach
The Ol’ Ball Coach needs to set everybody at ease by also claiming that he is not interested in returning to Florida. The Gator Nation owes Spurrier a great debt of thanks for putting the Gators on the map, but even hesitating before telling the world “NO” would only make a hard search even more difficult. Simply put, Spurrier would serve Florida well simply by telling the world that South Carolina is, and will continue to be, his coaching home.
Having the unemployed Tuberville lurk around the southeast has been a nightmare for coaches in the area struggling to win more than seven games this year. However, most agree that Tuberville spent this season waiting to see if Miami’s Randy Shannon would earn another year at the helm of the Hurricanes. Now that Shannon appears to have Miami moving up the ladder, Tuberville may be looking for another prime opportunity.
Most don’t expect Tuberville to announce that he won’t consider the Florida job; rather, a clue to his involvement in the process will come with a padded, soft announcement of “interest” in the position.
The entire current Gator assistant coaching staff
Unfortunately, those on the Gator staff that are qualified to become head coaches already have. The question will be which assistants will stay and which will go under a new regime. Polite announcements pertaining to the invitation of some assistants to “interview” for the head coach position are all we will see.
Gary Patterson—TCU Head Coach
Patterson has worked a miracle at TCU— making it the second, some say the best, football team in Texas. He did so with resources amounting to a fraction of what his in-state competition has available and has become a recruiting master. Like Meyer, he made his mark with lesser teams in low profile conferences.
Patterson recently signed an impressive contract extension with TCU but that won’t stop some from probing for interest. Patterson will stay at TCU, but if he begins to raise his eyebrows Foley might want to have a meeting.
Chris Petersen—Boise State Head Coach
June Jones—SMU Head Coach
Kyle Whittingham—Utah Head Coach
Now that Florida has a history of plucking rising stars from non-SEC conference teams, look for each of these coaches to either take the spotlight off their rumored candidacy or push for a Gator Nation public reaction with a non-denial denial…
Nick Saban—Alabama Head Coach
This situation must make the Tide faithful very nervous. Look for Saban to be escorted, with an armed guard, to a podium as soon as humanly possible to make a statement of loyalty to the University of Alabama. You won’t see his family since they will be held as hostages in a secure location.
Mike Leach — Texas Tech Head Coach
Mike Gundy—Oklahoma State Head Coach
Bob Stoops—Oklahoma Head Coach
Will Muschamp—Texas Heir Apparent
Again, each of these programs will be making public announcements of no interest in the Florida position simply for recruiting purposes. Although Leach and Gundy would be interesting fits, it is doubtful that any coach, including Stoops, from the Big 12 would be seriously considered— unless a 2-4 year filler role was to be considered.
Those that wish they could make an announcement
Bobby Bowden— "I'll coach anywhere... please!"
Ditto Phil Fulmer.
Houston Nutt - Once again his carriage turned back into a pumpkin...looking for another "fresh start."
Let the madness begin...