The Florida Gators football program has just begun their coaching search since they decided to fire their head coach Dan Mullen. Florida still has one more game left on their schedule but everyone has their eyes on the coaching search at Florida.
The Gators will most likely look for a coach that has experience as a head coach and in the SEC. There are plenty of options for the Gators to look at for their next head football coach but need to make the right decision if they want to become competitive again. Here are five options that Florida may consider to be their next head coach.
Florida Gators Head Coach Hot Board
1. Billy Napier- Louisiana HC
The first head coach on the list is Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Billy Napier. The 42-year old coach is one of the top up and coming coaches in the country.
Napier is in the middle of his fourth season as Louisiana’s head coach and is doing a terrific job turning that program around. In his fourth season as the Ragin’ Cajuns coach, Napier currently has a 38-12 record including three 10+ win seasons.
Louisiana-Lafayette has made it to their conference championship every year with Napier as their head coach. They also won it last season after finishing 10-1 with a bowl and were ranked #15 in the country.
Before becoming a head coach, Napier coached at Clemson, Alabama, and Arizona State. At Clemson, Napier started off as a graduate assistant but also became their offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Napier was also the wide receiver coach for the Alabama Crimson Tide for four years. He also landed five-star recruits like Cam Robinson, Jerry Judy, and Calvin Ridley while coaching at Alabama.
Napier could be an excellent option for the Gators if he decides to make the jump to the SEC. He has coached some really good offenses and has recruited at a high level and should be able to hire coaches that can recruit at a high level especially in the state of Florida.
2. Lane Kiffin- Ole Miss HC
All aboard! Lane Kiffin is the second coach on this list and seems to be a popular option for programs that are searching for their next head coach.
Lane Kiffin is in the middle of his second season as the head coach for the Ole Miss Rebels. Kiffin has plenty of head coaching experience as he’s coached at USC, Tennessee, and even the Oakland Raiders.
As a coach, Kiffin has been known to have an explosive offense with excellent quarterback play. During his time at Ole Miss, Kiffin has also done an excellent job of hiring quality assistant coaches that can develop talent and recruit.
As a recruiter, Kiffin does a much better job than Dan Mullen but he has gotten in trouble with recruiting in the past at USC’s offensive coordinator. However, that was a long time ago, and recruiting has changed a ton since then. Kiffin has also coached in the state of Florida as he was previously the head coach at FAU. Kiffin could be the home run hire Florida is searching for.
3. Mel Tucker- Michigan State HC
Mel Tucker is another defensive-minded head coach that Florida might consider to be their next head coach. He is a 49-year head coach for the Michigan State Spartans. Tucker is also in his second season at MSU.
Tucker has done an excellent job with the Spartans making them contenders for the college football playoffs. Before arriving at Michigan State, Tucker spent one seasonal head coach at Colorado.
He also has some experience coaching in the SEC. In 2000, Tucker was the defensive back coach for the LSU Tigers before heading to Ohio State. Tucker would then coach at Ohio State, the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Chicago Bears before coming back to the SEC.
Nick Saban hired Mel Tucker in 2015 to become their assistant head coach and defensive back coach. Tucker was there hired by Kirby Smart to be Georgia’s defensive coordinator. Tucker is known to be an excellent recruiter and could be the first African-American head coach at the University of Florida.
4. Mark Stoops- Kentucky HC
Another SEC head coach that the Florida Gators should really consider for their next head coach is Mark Stoops. The 54-year old head coach has been the head coach for the Kentucky Wildcats since 2013.
During his time at Kentucky, Stoops has turned the Wildcats from a bottom feeder in the SEC to a very competitive program that has been nationally ranked. Stoops was even the SEC Coach of the Year in 2018.
Before becoming Kentucky’s head coach, Stoops was a defensive backs coach at South Florida, Houston, and Miami. Stoops then became the defensive coordinator Arizona and Florida State.
Stoops is also an excellent talent evaluator and recruited pretty well at the University of Kentucky. At Florida, Stoops would have a better chance of keeping his top commits and preventing them from flipping.
5. Luke Fickell- Cincinnati HC
Luke Fickell is a 48-year old head coach for the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats and has done an incredible job as the Cincinnati head football coach. Fickell has a 45-14 record as their head coach.
Fickell has been known to be an excellent defensive coach as Cincinnati’s defense is consistently ranked as one of the top defenses in the country. The Bearcats defense is ranked 12th in total defense, seventh in points allowed per game, and has forced more turnovers than any other team in the country.
It’ll be interesting to see if Fickell would leave the state of Ohio for a head coach job at Florida. Fickell played at Ohio State and coached for the Buckeyes before getting hired by Cincinnati. One thing that Fickell has done well is creating a good culture at Cincinnati and developing talent.