Louisiana's Billy Napier Reportedly Emerges as Top Candidate in Florida HC Search

Adam WellsNovember 27, 2021

Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Billy Napier walks the sideline during an NCAA college football game against Georgia State in Lafayette, La., Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
AP Photo/Matthew Hinton

The Florida Gators reportedly have their eyes on Billy Napier to become their next head football coach. 

Per Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated, the Louisiana head coach has emerged as the top choice to replace Dan Mullen. 

SI noted if a deal is reached at some point within the next week, Napier would still coach Louisiana against Appalachian State in the Sun Belt Conference championship game on Dec. 4. 

Florida's athletic department announced on Nov. 21 a parting of ways with Mullen one day after a 24-23 loss to Missouri. The Gators had a 5-6 record overall with one game remaining in the regular season. 

Special teams coordinator/running backs coach Greg Knox is filling in as head coach for Saturday's game against Florida State. 

Mullen was hired by the Gators in November 2017 after he spent nine seasons as head coach at Mississippi State. The 49-year-old went 34-15 in 49 games at Florida with one appearance in the SEC Championship Game (2020). 

Napier is in his fourth season as head coach of the Ragin' Cajuns. After a 7-7 record in his first year with the program, the 42-year-old has gone 31-5 in 36 games since the start of 2019. 

Prior to being hired by Louisiana, Napier had extensive experience as an assistant coach with several top-tier programs. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Clemson for Dabo Swinney's first two seasons from 2009 to 2010. 

Napier spent five seasons over two stints at Alabama. He worked as an analyst for the Crimson Tide in 2011 and wide receivers coach from 2013 to 2016. 

Before Napier's hiring at Louisiana, the program posted three consecutive losing seasons under Mark Hudspeth.