For the second time in a year Urban Meyer is stepping down as the University of Florida’s head football coach. This shocked most of the sports world because last year his leave of absence only lasted one day. However, this time he is gone for good as Florida’s athletic director hired University of Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. The hiring was a quick, strong, decisive move.
So why did he take this job? He was only 11 games into his stint at Texas when the university surprisingly announced a deal to nearly double his salary to $900,000 and make him the head-coach-in-waiting behind Brown.
Mac Brown, Texas current football coach, was behind the move but insisted he had no plans to retire, leaving some to wonder if Muschamp would have the patience to put in the years at Texas before taking over.
“More than anything, I want to thank Mack Brown,” Muschamp said. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity he gave me and my family and all of the guidance. He is the best in the business, and I can’t say enough about everything he did to help prepare me for this. He really wanted it to work out for me to be the future coach at Texas, but this was just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
I don’t blame him for leaving; it’s not like he is going to a no name football program.
“This is a dream come true,” Muschamp said in a statement.
A surprise? Yep, it’s that. Florida could have had most any hot name in the country. The question with Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen was if he had enough head-coaching experience and he’d been there two years.
Was this the right move for Florida to bring in a coach that only has an experience as an assistant and coordinator? I believe so. There will be a learning curve for him. There has to be. The only question is how long it lasts and to what degree it is.
The move to Florida will reunite Muschamp with a place he used to call home. He spent 10 years in Gainesville as a kid, graduated from Georgia and coached at Auburn and LSU.
He knows Florida. He knows the Southeastern Conference. For the Gators, that background outweighed his lack of head-coaching experience.
“I grew up watching the Gators and whatever other SEC team was on television,” Muschamp said. “I have great memories watching SEC football with my father on Saturdays and playing football in the back yard with my two brothers right here in Gainesville.”
Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said he targeted him shortly after Meyer resigned Wednesday and he was the only person to whom Foley offered the job.
Foley said Muschamp’s familiarity with the SEC was an important factor.
“We wanted a candidate who was high energy and had been on the big stage,” Foley said in a statement. “We wanted a candidate who was respected by his players and his peers, and we wanted someone who had a passion for the University of Florida. Coach Muschamp is all of those things and more.”
No terms of the contract have been released. Whatever the pay, Will Muschamp has simultaneously changed the landscape of two major college football programs.