A Few Names To Watch, As Florida Looks For A New Head Coach

With the news the Florida has decided to move on from Dan Mullen, the attention now turns to who will replace the former head coach. Athletic Director Scott Stricklin made it clear this afternoon that he is looking for someone who can sustain success at the school, while hiring a top-notch staff.

Here is the first round of coaches.


Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss HC

There is no denying that if Florida picked up the phone to gauge the interest of Kiffin, he would definitely answer. But is this the job in Florida that he would want to actually pursue? He is clearly one of the brightest offensive coaches in the country and has proven he can turn around a program, like he’s done at Ole Miss. The Rebels are ranked 10th in the country and will look for their 10th win of the season next week against Mississippi State.

Can you imagine the kind of talent he could bring on offense to Florida, or what he could do with the current crop of guys. He would no doubt need to hire some elite coaches on the defensive side, which is one thing he is lacking in Oxford.

Either way, I promise you Jimmy Sexton will have him involved in this coaching search, in one way or the other.

Mario Cristobal, Oregon HC

The Oregon Ducks head coach had his playoff chances taken away on Saturday night, as they lost to Utah 38-7, but folks would be pretty clumsy to not continue pursuing the Ducks head coach and they aren’t that clumsy. This was a top-five program just two days ago and are currently 9-2 on the season. It should not be lost on anyone his home state of Florida could be calling his name , and if he wanted to get back home, this would be a perfect opportunity.

He can recruit, which has been proven at Oregon, and they are currently ranked 9th in recruiting standings. In 2021, he finished with the 3rd ranked class in the country. If you give this man the money he needs to hire a nice staff and the resources needed to recruit, you’re looking at a likely winner wherever he is coaching, which he is currently proving at Oregon.

Billy Napier, Louisiana HC

Napier is a coach that will continue to be named in these coaching searches, as he has done a fantastic job at Louisiana. His name has been attached to some big jobs in the past few years, but the Florida brass really like what Napier has done and he will most certainly be on the short list, according to folks around the program.

He currently has his team 10-1 on the season, only losing to Texas in the season opener in Austin. His overall record at ULL is 31-5, coming off a fantastic 10-1 record in 2020 and 11-3 in 2019. There is the connection to Nick Saban, as he served as an assistant coach.

The Florida job will not be the only opening that he is being considered at, so it will be interesting to see how this one is handled. The Gators are interested, but so will a lot of other teams. Don’t forget, he was linked to the South Carolina job, along with the Auburn opening last season.


Bill O’Brien, Alabama OC

The former Penn State and Houston Texans head coach has been working as the offensive coordinator for Nick Saban, doing amazing things with QB Bryce Young. He is no stranger at turning around programs, just look what he did in Happy Valley. He ended up doing such a great job at Pen State, that he couldn’t turn down the opportunity when the Houston Texans called.

He is a smart offensive mind, who can bring elite defensive coaches with him. I’ve been told that Scott Stricklin has him on his short list of candidates, so pay attention to this one. It would not surprise me to see O’Brien get a college head coaching job again soon.


Bob Stoops, Former Oklahoma HC

The current Fox Sports analyst and former Oklahoma head coach is well respected around Gainesville and some folks would love the idea of Stoops re-starting his clock at Florida. He has an overall record of 190-48 in Norman, while winning the 2000 National Championship. This wouldn’t be the first big job that has popped up since his retirement, so it will take a bit of prying to get him interested. But, at 61 years old, he’s still got the juice to be a head coach at a major football program, though I imagine life is pretty grand right now just working on Saturday’s.

James Franklin, Penn State HC

The Penn State head coach hinted at some possible long-term commitments with the football program on Saturday’s night, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be a candidate for this job. He has proven he can win in the SEC, just looking at what he did at Vanderbilt. He is a fantastic recruiter and has done some nice things with the Penn St, program, though this season has been a step back.

His name was attached to the USC opening, just as the LSU job. Also, don’t forget he signed with super-agent Jimmy Sexton recently, so all possibilities are still open for the current coach in Happy Valley.

There will be many more names that come up during this search, as coaches agree to extensions are have true interest in the Florida job.



Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.


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  1. Gainesville is too far north for Kiffin.
    They would completely deserve O’Brien.
    Ed Oregano is available if you’re looking for a guy that would cover up sexual assault by members of the team. The ONLY reason Oregano won in 2019 is he attracted a really good QB from Ohio State and he had a great O-Coordinator.

  2. The one thing Kiffin has going for him at Ole Miss is that he works under functionally ZERO expectations. No one (zero people) expects him to win a Championship of any level. Not SEC West, not SEC, and not a national championship. (not that Ole Miss fans would not love it but they don’t expect it). He can win 8 games per year and everyone will be thrilled. He will likely get 2 giant raises (one due to LSU’s search and the other due to Florida’s search) this year. He can sit still, win a few games, and laugh all the way to the bank! Ill bet this time next year, he has doubled his base salary and those raises will continue every year that there is a big vacancy!

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