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A look back at the 2014 coaching search

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
Some of us are wondering how on earth Jeremy Foley decided to hire Jim McElwain. The list below shows who was available in November 2014. Looking back, it appears Foley made the best decision he could given the situation at the time.
  • Chip Kelly (Philadelphia Eagles)
    • Current salary: $6.5M through 2018.
    • Cost for Florida: unknown buyout and at least $6.5M per year.
  • Charlie Strong (HC Texas, various positions at Florida 1985-2009)
    • Current salary: $5M per year until 2019, plus $5M buyout to Louisville in 2014, with $100k escalation of base contract each year.
    • Cost for Florida: UF would need to buyout all the coaches that remain with Texas, up to $3.5M and pay him at least $5M per year (and another $3.5M for the coaching staff). This is plausible.
  • Steve Spurrier (South Carolina)
    • Current salary: $4M through 2018
    • Cost for Florida: n/a
    • Key assistants: DC Lorenzo Ward, Co-OC Steve Spurrier Jr, Co-OC G.A. Mangus
    • Notes: Spurrier has stated that he is not interested in going back to Gainesville as head coach this close to retirement age.
  • Dan Mullen (Mississippi State, OC Florida 2005-2008)
    • Current salary: $2.9M for 4 years (through 2018) plus incentives from the boosters that push him to $3M.
    • Cost for Florida: No buyout other than one-time $3M to the MSU athletic association to offset booster donations. $3.5M - $5M.
    • Key assistants: Co-OC Billy Gonzales (UF WR coach 2005-2008), AHC/ Co-OC John Hevesy (UF TE coach 2005-2008)
  • Rich Rodriguez (HC Arizona)
    • Current salary: $1.5M per year until 2018
    • Cost for Florida: Buyout of only $500k and a salary anywhere between $2M - $4M.
  • Doc Holliday (UF AHC, Co-DC, S 2005-2010, HC Marshall)
    • Current salary: $600k with up to $425k in incentives through 2016.
    • Cost for Florida: $2M buyout, $2M - $4M.
    • Key assistants: Chuck Heater (former UF assistant), Bill Legg
    • Bonus points: coached All American Reggie Nelson
  • Mark Stoops (HC Kentucky)
    • Current salary: $3.6M through 2019.
    • Cost for Florida: No buyout, over $4M per year salary.
  • Jim McElwain (HC Colorado State)
    • Current salary: $1.5M through 2018
    • Cost for Florida: $7.5M buyout plus $3M - $4M per year
    • Notes: 20–15 (12–9), but as Alabama OC he was responsible for taking out Florida as the dominant SEC program. He can also recruit the state of Florida. He recruited Clinton Ha-ha Dix out of Orlando Dr. Philips (a potential Gator hotbed of talent). He recruited Dee Philips of Orlando Dr. Philips at Bama and has him now at Colorado State. He seemed to have an impact in recruiting Trent Richardson out of Pensacola, Florida as well (Richardson went to my high school, the same one as Emmitt Smith).
    • Named the 24th head coach at the University of Florida on December 4, 2014 (five days after the release of Muschamp). Florida will pay $7M buyout, $3M+ salary, and play CSU in Gainesville before 2019 with another $2M payout. Coach Mac agreed to buy down a portion of his buyout (approximately $2M) over the next few years.
  • Mike Gundy (OC Oklahoma State)
    • Current salary: $3.75M through 2019
    • Cost for Florida: remainder of $4.8M retirement fund, $3M buyout. $4M to $5M.
    • Notes: Unlikely hire due to him being alumni of current job, inherent job security with the built-in retirement plan, and lack of familiarity with SEC recruiting.
  • Mike Shanahan (Florida OC 1980-1983, former Washington Redskins HC)
    • Current salary: $7M buyout until December 2014
    • Cost for Florida: $6M +
    • Notes: Might be an interesting CEO head coach if he can bring Kyle Shanahan with him as OC and head coach in waiting.
  • Mac Trestman (Chicago Bears)
    • Current salary: $4.25M
    • Cost for Florida: $5M.
  • Mark Hudspeth (HC University of Louisiana Lafayette)
    • Current salary : $1.075M through 2020
    • Cost for Florida: $6M buyout, $2M
  • Kerwin Bell (Florida QB 1983-1987, Jacksonville University)
    • Current Salary : unknown
    • Cost for Florida: $2M
    • Notes: Jacksonville's football program has been removed from playoff contention due to financial issues and could possibly be investigated for fraud. Bell is off the list for now.
  • Josh McDaniel (OC New England Patriots, HC Denver Broncos)
  • Greg Schiano (HC Tampa Bay Buccaneers, HC Rutgers)
  • Jim Schwartz (DC Buffalo Bills, HC Detroit Lions)
 

Leakfan12

VIP Member
I think Holliday and Mullen would have been better of the options especially since both came from great seasons in 2014 (then again so did Mac) and were Gator assistants (though Mac was a Bama assistant under the Bama gnome). Hindsight is 20/20. Heck most of us were probably excited when Muschamp was the coach in in 2011 and that didn't work out. Sad Part if Charlie waited a year instead the Texas job, if probably would have been the Gators coach even to this day.
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
I think Holliday and Mullen would have been better of the options especially since both came from great seasons in 2014 (then again so did Mac) and were Gator assistants (though Mac was a Bama assistant under the Bama gnome). Hindsight is 20/20. Heck most of us were probably excited when Muschamp was the coach in in 2011 and that didn't work out. Sad Part if Charlie waited a year instead the Texas job, if probably would have been the Gators coach even to this day.

I do not fault Jeremy Foley for hiring Jim McElwain in 2014, but I do fault him for not firing Will Muschamp in 2013 when Charlie Strong would have been available.

Charlie was the best fit back in 2014. Dan Mullen would have been good as well, especially if he brought Geoff Collins. However, in 2014 Dan Mullen was not ready to leave Mississippi State and Dak Prescott behind.
 

CHOMPCHOMP22

Gator Fan
I agree; Charlie would've been excellent.
I do not fault Jeremy Foley for hiring Jim McElwain in 2014, but I do fault him for not firing Will Muschamp in 2013 when Charlie Strong would have been available.

Charlie was the best fit back in 2014. Dan Mullen would have been good as well, especially if he brought Geoff Collins. However, in 2014 Dan Mullen was not ready to leave Mississippi State and Dak Prescott behind.
I do not fault Jeremy Foley for hiring Jim McElwain in 2014, but I do fault him for not firing Will Muschamp in 2013 when Charlie Strong would have been available.

Charlie was the best fit back in 2014. Dan Mullen would have been good as well, especially if he brought Geoff Collins. However, in 2014 Dan Mullen was not ready to leave Mississippi State and Dak Prescott behind.
 

Doc_Zaius

Gator Fan
I don't know if Charlie Strong would have succeeded here, although he was a hot commodity at the time. He didn't exactly shine at Texas.
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
I don't know if Charlie Strong would have succeeded here, although he was a hot commodity at the time. He didn't exactly shine at Texas.

Charlie Strong would have done well at Florida, because he was familiar the program after being associated with UF since 1983. He was familiar with recruiting the state of Florida. What Charlie lacked was any familiarity with recruiting the state of Texas, and an understanding of the Longhorn culture. He did well at Louisville by bringing recruits from Florida. Louisville is not a blue blood program like Florida or Texas, so there was not much culture adaptation to go through.

Since the topic keeps coming up, I will say the same thing about Chip Kelly and Scott Frost. Both of them are excellent coaches, but neither has a connection to Florida and neither has coached at a blue blood college football program.

Dan Mullen may not be the fan favorite, but he was the best fit in 2017, and he was the second best fit in 2014. He was familiar with Florida culture, Florida recruiting, and Florida coaching. No other candidate on the market was better qualified in 2017 or in 2014 except Charlie Strong.
 

Leakfan12

VIP Member
I don't know if Charlie Strong would have succeeded here, although he was a hot commodity at the time. He didn't exactly shine at Texas.

He knew/knows how to recruit Florida, kind of hard to get Florida recruits to come to Texas. I think was a few reasons why it didn't work out for Charlie in Texas.
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
He knew/knows how to recruit Florida, kind of hard to get Florida recruits to come to Texas. I think was a few reasons why it didn't work out for Charlie in Texas.
Exactly. Charlie has been recruiting the state of Florida since 1983! He was not a good fit at Texas, because that school has a very different culture, different recruiting base, different boosters, et cetera.

I am not saying it is a mandatory requirement for success, but it certainly helps when a new coach at a blue blood school knows the culture, the recruiting base, and the boosters. It is more important nowadays when few schools are willing to wait for success.
 

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