Urban Meyer Stepping Down From University of Florida: 5 Possible Replacements

Rich ThomaselliSenior Writer IDecember 8, 2010

Urban Meyer Stepping Down From University of Florida: 5 Possible Replacements

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 02:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 2, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Urban Meyer is stepping down for a second time as head football coach at the University of Florida.

    Now what?

    Athletic director Jeremy Foley had a no-brainer decision six years ago to bring in Meyer when he was the hottest coach in the country while at Utah.

    He’ll be under pressure to bring in a name coach. Perhaps not a “big” name coach—after all, was Meyer himself a “big” name or just a hot commodity? But Foley will definitely have to replace Meyer with somebody who will be a caretaker of the program.

    Ron Zook wasn’t when he followed Steve Spurrier; Meyer certainly was.

    With that in mind, here’s a look at five potential replacement candidates.

Dan Mullen

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 13: Coach Dan Mullen of the Mississippi State Bulldogs directs play against the Alabama Crimson Tide November 13, 2010 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Mullen obviously has Florida ties, having been Meyer’s offensive coordinator at UF for four seasons before taking over the head coaching job at Mississippi State.

    Mullen has done a terrific job at MSU while competing in a tough SEC West Division. He went 8-4 this year, and that included a victory over Florida en route to an 8-4 record and a berth in the Gator Bowl against Michigan.

Charlie Strong

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 12:  Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong of the Florida Gators calls out a signal during the game against the Troy Trojans at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 12, 2009 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Get
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Strong served as Meyer’s defensive coordinator in Gainesville before leaving to become head coach at Louisville.

    There’s no question he would sever ties with the Cardinals to return to UF, but will he be able to get out of his contract after one year?

    Hey, ask Lane Kiffin, right?

Bob Stoops

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    STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 27:  Head coach Bob Stoops of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates after the Sooners beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys 47-41 at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Longshot? Maybe. Maybe not.

    Stoops is always rumored to be available whenever high-profile positions become available. He’s certainly accomplished great things at Oklahoma, but his time there may have run its course and he just might be ready for a new challenge.

    Stoops is a former UF assistant whose name was bandied about last year when Meyer briefly stepped down.

Dan McCarney

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    McCarney has the credentials, that’s for sure.

    He’s currently the defensive line coach at UF, and he has head coaching experience from his time at Iowa State.

    McCarney is also known as a great recruiter.

Jim Harbaugh

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    PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Stanford Cardinal reacts after Delano Howell #26 of the Stanford Cardinal made an interception on a pass intended for Joe Halahuni #87 of the Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Stadium on November
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Hey, why not?

    If Rich Rodriguez has a great bowl win against Mississippi State and somehow manages to hang on to his job at Michigan, Harbaugh has to be in the conversation.

    He has Stanford at 11-1 and in a BCS Bowl, and the only loss was to unbeaten Oregon.

    Like Meyer six years ago, Harbaugh is the ‘hot’ name right now.