Will Muschamp Named Head Coach of Florida Gators
Well, University of Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley works a heck of a lot faster than his counterpart at Miami. Will Muschamp, the defensive coordinator of the Texas Longhorns, has been named the new head honcho in Gainesville. Previously, he had been guaranteed to be Mack Brown's successor at Texas, but I guess he couldn't wait.
Locally, you might remember Muschamp's time as the Dolphin's assistant head coach for defense. Nick Saban brought him along from LSU.
Muschamp's name was always on the radar, but this pick is a bit of a surprise considering he has no head coaching experience or much connection to the Florida program. Plus he had a guaranteed job with an elite team waiting. The good news for Miami fans is that he was never on the 'Canes' radar, and his hire eliminates any complications dual head coach searches in the state may have had.
The remaining prospects at Miami are said to include Al Golden, Randy Edsall, Marc Trestman, and possibly Tommy Tuberville. I wonder if Dan Mullen's name will pop up once again, or maybe he just is really, really dedicated to that Mississippi State job.
It's a Saturday night in Miami, and we just happened to come across this on Twitter, so please excuse the copy-paste of the press release. It's ridiculously exhaustive.
University of Florida Director of Athletics Jeremy Foley announced on Saturday the hiring of Will Muschamp as the school's next head football coach. Muschamp, 39, comes to UF after being the coach-in-waiting at the University of Texas since November 2008 and is a one-time Gainesville native who will return to North Central Florida as the 23rd head coach in Florida football history.
Muschamp, a 16-year coaching veteran, has 12 years of experience in the Southeastern Conference, eight as a coach and four as a player. Muschamp served as defensive coordinator at Auburn University (2006-07) and LSU (2002-04; he was LSU's linebackers coach in 2001) and was a finalist for the 2007 Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach. The son of a football coach, he turned down appointments at West Point and Annapolis to become a four-year letterman as a safety at the University of Georgia from 1991-94, where he was voted defensive co-captain as a senior.
"This is a dream come true to be the head coach of the Florida Gators," said Muschamp, who spent 10 years of his childhood living on 27th Street in this city. "I grew up watching the Gators and whatever other SEC team was on television. I have great memories watching SEC football with my father on Saturdays and playing football in the back yard with my two brothers right here in Gainesville."
"I'm eager to get to work and represent this great institution," Muschamp continued. "I'm very thankful for the opportunity given to me by President Dr. Bernie Machen and Athletics Director Jeremy Foley. I promise to bring a tremendous amount of passion and energy to work every day and my goal is to have our team bring the same type of attitude in everything we do, both on and off the field. I want our team to play hard, with relentless effort and with toughness. We want to make The Gator Nation proud."
Not only does Muschamp, a highly-respected coach among both his peers and his players, bring collegiate and NFL experience back to Gainesville, he also brings a wealth of big-game experience. He has coached in two national championship games, winning the ultimate prize in 2003 while defensive coordinator at LSU, and coached in a third BCS bowl game following the 2008 season, when Texas won the Fiesta Bowl. In addition to his national championship past, Muschamp has coached in the SEC Championship Game twice and in the Big 12 Championship Game once, coming out on the winning side in each of those three contests.
"We are thrilled to have Coach Muschamp lead our football program,"
said Foley. "Coach Muschamp is someone we targeted from the beginning and he is the guy we wanted. He is the only person we met with and the only person we offered the job to. When we started the search for our next head coach we wanted a coach who was familiar with the Southeastern Conference. We wanted a candidate who was a relentless recruiter and was familiar with recruiting in the state of Florida. We wanted a candidate who was high energy and had been on the big stage. We wanted a candidate who was respected by his players and his peers and we wanted someone who had a passion for the University of Florida. Coach Muschamp is all of those things and more. He is a grounded family man with a wonderful wife and two children and we welcome them into our Gator family."
With great excitement and enthusiasm, I, and the entire Gator Nation, welcome Coach Muschamp to the University of Florida," said President Bernie Machen. "We look forward to continued great success on and off the field under his proven leadership. This is a great day for all Gators."
In his five seasons as an SEC defensive coordinator, Muschamp's defenses ranked among the nation's top 10 in total defense every single year, while always maintaining a top-15 rating in scoring defense, including three times inside the top 10.
In four of his eight seasons overall as a Division I defensive coordinator, the high-energy coach's team has allowed under 100 yards rushing per game and has twice led the nation in rushing defense while yielding less than 75 yards rushing per game. His 2003 LSU defense led the country by allowing 67 yards per game on the ground, the best mark by an SEC team in the 2000s, while Texas gave up just 73.1 yards on the ground in 2009 to pace the nation.
Over the past three seasons, the Texas defense ranks No. 1 in the nation with 119 sacks for 949 yards lost. His unit also rates in the top 10 nationally from 2008-10 in several other major categories, allowing
2.9 yards per rushing attempt (third), 96.7 rushing yards per game (fourth), 297.4 yards per game (seventh), all of which are Big 12 bests during that span. He also helped the Longhorns' defense to top-20 rankings during his tenure at Texas, with 650 first downs allowed (18th) and a 114.3 pass efficiency defense (20th).
In 2009, the Texas Longhorns advanced to the BCS National Championship Game as Muschamp's charges gave up a nation's-low 73.1 rushing yards per game, the best figure by any BCS school over the past three seasons.
The Longhorns also led the nation in third-down defense (26.5 percent), turnovers created (37, tied with Ohio University) and interceptions (25) as Texas claimed the Big 12 championship in 2009.
Under Muschamp's guidance at Texas, Brian Orakpo claimed the 2008 Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman of the year), Bronko Nagurski Trophy (most outstanding defensive player) and Ted Hendricks Award (top defensive end), while the Longhorns' defense saw Sergio Kindle become the first player in college football history to be named a finalist for both the Butkus Award (nation's top linebacker) and the Hendricks Award. Earl Thomas also earned finalist honors for the Jim Thorpe Award in 2009.
In the 2009 and 2010 NFL Drafts, Muschamp had a combined eight players drafted, including seven in the first four rounds and two first-rounders in Orakpo and Thomas.
His 2003 LSU defense helped the Tigers to the national championship by leading the nation both in scoring defense (11.0 points per game) and total defense (252.0 yards per game), while finishing second nationally in pass efficiency defense (89.8) and third in rushing defense (67.0 yards per game). The Tigers allowed just 19 touchdowns all season in 2003, three less than the next closest competitor nationally.
Between his positions at LSU and Auburn, Muschamp spent a season with the National Football League's Miami Dolphins in 2005 as Assistant Head Coach for Defense. He helped the Dolphins finish second in the league with 49 sacks, while leading Miami to top-10 finishes with 4.7 yards per play (seventh), 3.7 yards per rush (seventh) and 6.0 yards per pass (ninth).
The 1994 graduate of the University of Georgia moved immediately into coaching following his collegiate career, working as a graduate assistant at Auburn from 1995-96, earning his master's degree in 1996.
He became a secondary coach at West Georgia (1998) and Eastern Kentucky
(1999) before moving on to his first defensive coordinator position at Valdosta State for the 2000 season, where he helped the Blazers to a
10-2 record and the Gulf South Conference championship with an 8-1 league mark.
In his playing career at Georgia, Muschamp earned his way from walk-on to scholarship player by the spring of his redshirt freshman season and eventually was named co-captain for his senior season. He also earned a spot on SEC Academic Honor Roll in 1993.
Muschamp and his wife, Carol, have two sons, Jackson and Whit.