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Report: Florida Gators Expected to Hire Billy Napier as Head Coach

The Florida Gators have found their head coach according to reports, set to hire Louisiana head coach Billy Napier to replace Dan Mullen.

The Florida Gators are in the process of finalizing a deal with Louisiana head coach Billy Napier to become the program's next leader, according to a report from Bruce Feldman of The Athletic. The deal is likely to be agreed upon Sunday afternoon, per Feldman. 

Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde reported on Saturday that Napier had emerged as the leading candidate for Florida's head coaching vacancy.

This comes after the Gators expectedly fired Dan Mullen last Sunday following four years with the program and in the midst of a disappointing 5-6 regular season. The Gators would go on to win their regular-season finale over Florida State on Saturday under interim head coach Greg Knox, gaining bowl eligibility.

RELATED: Scott Stricklin Explains Florida Gators Firing Dan Mullen

Now, it appears the Ragin Cajuns' head coach will head down to Gainesville at some point in the near future.

Napier, 42, has spent the past four seasons (2018-present) as the head coach at Louisiana. During that time he recorded a record of 39-12 and counting as the team gets set to face LA-Monroe on Saturday. This season, the team has enjoyed an 11-1 record.

The stellar 2021 season comes after the Ragin' Cajuns won a conference title in 2020 following a 10-1 performance.  

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Napier has been a fast riser in the college ranks working with both Alabama's Nick Saban and Clemson's Dabo Swinney. He served as the Clemson Tigers offensive coordinator at the young age of 30. He would hold that role from 2009-10 before jumping over as an analyst at Alabama under Jim McElwain and Saban in 2011.

He would jump back to Alabama after a brief stint at Colorado State (2012) as the team's wide receivers coach from 2013-16. After one more year at Arizona State as the team's offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2017, Napier finally realized his goal of becoming a head coach - at Louisiana.

Napier comes from an offensive-minded background, with his offense not ranking below No. 41 in the nation in scoring since taking over as Louisiana's head coach, ranking as high as No. 10 in the country in 2019.

The Gators moved quickly on finding their guy, especially with SEC rival LSU Tigers looking to make a coaching hire soon following the ousting of Ed Orgeron.

They've found their guy in Napier, in a process that athletic director Scott Stricklin stated last Sunday he wanted to move on as quickly as possible, although he noted there was no true timetable. Stricklin also gave a brief note about what kind of coach he wants the team to have: One that can achieve sustainable success.

"We want someone who has high expectations and big aspirations that match the University of Florida," said Stricklin.

"It’s a place that’s a top-five university, it’s easily a top-five athletic program. We want someone who wants to be a part of that and feels like they have a plan and want to achieve at a high, high level and do so for a long period of time.”

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