Sat, 22 Jan 2022

Florida names Louisiana's Billy Napier head coach

Field Level Media
29 Nov 2021, 06:55 GMT+10

Florida named Louisiana's Billy Napier as the Gators' new head coach on Sunday.

Napier has guided the Ragin' Cajuns to an 11-1 record this season and owns a 39-12 record in four seasons there.

"We are humbled and honored to accept this incredible opportunity to be the head football coach at the University of Florida," Napier said. "Our team, staff and entire organization will work daily to establish a program with integrity and class that we all can be proud of. More importantly, we will build a culture that is centered around making an impact on our players: as people, as students, and on the field.

"We embrace the expectations and are excited about the challenge ahead. We will assemble a special group of people and immediately get to work building a great program. A special thank you to President Dr. Fuchs and Athletic Director Scott Stricklin. We look forward to getting to Gainesville and starting this journey!"

Napier, 42, replaces Dan Mullen, who was fired on Nov. 21 after leading the Gators to a 5-6 start.

Florida finished 6-6 and gained bowl eligibility Saturday with a 24-21 win against rival Florida State in Gainesville. Greg Knox served as the interim coach for the Gators.

Napier was the Sun Belt Conference's Coach of the Year in 2019 and led Louisiana to a 2-1 record in bowl games.

He is expected to coach the Ragin' Cajuns in Saturday's Sun Belt title game against Appalachian State. He will arrive in Gainesville the following day for a press conference to introduce him as the Gators' 28th head coach.

"I've followed and studied Billy Napier's career with interest, and he became the primary target immediately after this position came open," Stricklin said. "We felt confident he would be an excellent leader for the Gators, which is why he was the only candidate I met with about the job.

"Billy's ability to bring highly-talented people together -- players, coaches, and staff -- along with his vision for having a strong, relationship-based culture is what made him such an attractive choice. Add in how detailed his plan is for player development, staffing and recruiting, along with a sustained desire to improve, and it's easy to see why he's been successful."

Before taking over the program in Lafayette, La., Napier worked as an assistant coach at Arizona State, Alabama, South Carolina State, Colorado State and Clemson.

Mullen, 49, left Florida with a 34-15 record in four seasons. His Gators went to three New Year's Six bowl games, winning two.

--Field Level Media

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