The long-anticipated (well, over the last week) news is now official: Louisiana head coach Billy Napier has reached an agreement a contract to become the 28th head coach in the history of the Florida Gators football program, the school announced on Sunday afternoon.
Contract terms were not immediately available upon Napier's hiring.
“We are humbled and honored to accept this incredible opportunity to be the head football coach at the University of Florida,” Napier said in a statement. “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 is set to replace Dan Mullen as the leader of the Gators' program. Mullen was fired last Sunday after leading Florida to a 5-6 record in 2021, following three consecutive New Year's Six Bowl appearances.
"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 in a following statement. “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."
Napier takes over the same role he held at Louisiana for the past four years, leading the Ragin Cajuns to a 39-12 record and four consecutive Sun Belt West Division titles. Napier earned Sun Belt Coach of the Year honors following Louisiana's 2019 season, which ended in a 27-17 victory over the Miami Redhawks in the 2020 LendingTree Bowl.
A disciple of Dabo Swinney at Clemson and Nick Saban at Alabama, Napier hails from a successful coaching tree and has been groomed to understand the CEO mentality it takes to run a college football program. The hope is his knowledge will translate to Gainesville as Florida has won some big games in recent years but has lacked in recruiting and struggled with fundamentals on the field.
Napier will coach Louisiana in the Sun Belt championship game against Appalachian State on Saturday 3:30 P.M. ET. Napier will arrive in Gainesville on Dec. 5.
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