New Florida head coach Billy Napier
Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Billy Napier is congratulated by Louisiana-Monroe Offensive Coordinator Rich Rodriguez after Louisiana-Lafayette won 21-16 in an NCAA college football game in Lafayette, La., Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

Billy Napier is the Next Head Football Coach of the Florida Gators

It only took a week following coach Dan Mullen’s departure and less than a day after the win over Florida State. The Florida football team has a new head coach in Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns head coach Billy Napier who was officially named to the post on Sunday.

Napier will coach the Ragin Cajuns in the Sun Belt Conference championship game this Saturday and then is scheduled to arrive in Gainesville the next day. As of now, he will be introduced at a press conference either this Sunday or next Monday.

“We are humbled and honored to accept this incredible opportunity to be the head football coach at the University of Florida,” Napier said.

Napier added he is ready to embrace the expectations at UF and is up for the challenge. These expectations include getting the Gators back into playoff contention and getting the school’s recruiting class back up in the rankings.

Napier’s Resume

Napier’s four seasons at Lousiana give him a strong resume.

After a 7-7 first season, where Lousiana won their division and played in the Cure Bowl, the Ragin Cajuns went on their best run in school history. Lousiana won 10 or more games three times under Napier. Before that, the most wins in a season they had in Division I play was seven. They had a nine-win season while in Division II.

They’ve won four-straight division titles and won the Sun Belt in 2020. This was their first conference title since 2013–but that one was vacated, so in the books, they hadn’t won since 2005.

Napier also led the Ragin Cajuns to wins in the LendingTree Bowl in 2019 and the First Responder Bowl in 2020.

In 2020, Louisiana finished ranked 15th in the AP Poll. Currently, they’re ranked number 20.  This success caught the attention of Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin.

“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. “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.”

Prior to his tenure in Lousiana, Napier had experience as a Power Five coach. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Clemson from 2009 to 2010 before becoming an offensive analyst at Alabama in 2011. Napier spent time at Arizona State, then Alabama again, before taking on the head coaching job at Louisiana.

About Harrison Smajovits

Harrison is a sports coordinator at ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF. He served as a beat writer for Florida Gators football for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He also contributes to WRUF's Gainesville Sports Center segments and makes appearances on the Clash on Harp on Sports. Harrison has been a content writer for WRUF since January 2019 as well.

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