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Florida Gators Coach Search: Who Should Be on the Short List

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
Jim FolsomContributorDecember 9, 2010

The Short List: Who Should Be on and Who Should Be off

Now that Urban Meyer has quit again, this time presumably for good, who does Jeremy Foley go after to be the next head coach at the University of Florida? I’m hearing the names of Dan Mullen and Charlie Strong a lot. While those two would be fine choices, I still believe that Florida should wait before deciding on one of those two. Here’s why.

The Florida job is one of the top five jobs in all of college football. There is Texas, Alabama, USC, Florida, and Oklahoma to round out the top five. Where does UF rank among those five? Some would argue number one. Some maybe would say fifth.

I would say no worse than third. If you want proof, ask yourself what other job openings that have occurred this past week or so created the media frenzy that Urban stepping down did. Did the Miami job opening up have non stop ESPN coverage on every channel for five solid hours? Of course not. How about Pittsburgh? Are you kidding? Indiana? Minnesota? Yeah right. Colorado? Dream on.

The Florida job opening up is like the Cowboys, the Yankees, or the Celtics job opening up. This is huge. This is Calipari to Kentucky huge. This is Saban to Alabama huge. So therefore Florida needs to hire a coach for the occasion. They need to hire someone who will make Bama fans nervous. They need someone to make Tennessee fans throw up their arms in frustration. Someone who will make Georgia just want to give up. Does Dan Mullen do this? Or Charlie Strong? No.

This is where you need a splash hire. Because nobody is too big for this job. Nobody should be unapproachable. In fact, Jeremy Foley should probably do nothing for a week or so and see who calls him. There would be some big time coaches willing to throw their hats into that ring. I guarantee it.

So, if I were hiring the next Head Gator, here is where I would start and then work my way down.

  1. Bob Stoops: Big Game Bob has been just that in a decade plus at OU. Before that he was the defensive coordinator at Florida. He’s my first phone call.
  2. Steve Spurrier: Just don’t ask him for his resume this time. It’s in the trophy case.
  3. Nick Saban: Why not? He was LSU’s coach and then went to Alabama. Obviously loyalty is not one of his strong suits. And he sure can coach.
  4. Gary Patterson: He’s been a monster at TCU. And that’s recruiting against Mack Brown and Bob Stoops at a non AQ school. What would he do with the UF resources?
  5. Gus Malzahn: Sure does have the spread offense down pat. Auburn would not be where they are without him.
  6. Chip Kelly: Another guy who knows the spread. He sure has Oregon running it as well as anyone.
  7. Bill Cowher: Why not? If Miami can go after Chucky Gruden then Florida should not feel like Cowher is too big for them.
  8. Tony Dungy: Ditto.
  9. Les Miles: May look like a bit of a dunce sometimes, but the man wins football games.
  10. Jim Harbaugh: If you can win at Stanford, you can win at Florida.

Then if none of those guys are interested, you go to Dan Mullen or Charlie Strong.

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