Florida head coach Billy Napier, left, greets LSU head coach Brian Kelly on the field before an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

First Year SEC Head Coaches: Billy Napier and Brian Kelly

Both the University of Florida and LSU welcomed new coaches for the 2022 SEC football season.  The Gators welcomed Billy Napier while the Tigers hired Brian Kelly.

Billy Napier

Last season, Florida fired head coach Dan Mullen after a disastrous season. The last straw with Mullen was the 24-23 loss to Missouri in overtime. Eager to find a replacement to bring the Gators back to success, athletic director Scott Stricklin hired Billy Napier.

After years of assistant coaching, Napier landed his first head coaching gig at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2017.  During his four-year tenure with the Ragin’ Cajuns, he led the team to a 40-12 record with a perfect 16-0 mark against members of the Sun Belt West Division.  He earned Sun Belt Conference of the Year in 2019 and 2021 and the Cajuns became Sun Belt Conference Champions in 2021.

It has been up and down during his first season with the Gators. The Gators started off strong and were ranked No. 12 in the AP Poll during Week 2, but by Week 4, they fell out of the top 25, and have yet to be back.  Last weekend, the Gators fell 45-35 to LSU.  This week, they have a bye, and prepare to face the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs on Oct. 29.

Brian Kelly

After a 12-year run at Notre Dame, Brian Kelly was hired as head coach for the LSU Tigers for the 2022 season.  Kelly first took on a head coach position at Grand Valley State University, where he stayed for 13 years.  During his tenure, the Lakers won five conference titles and made six Division II Playoff appearances.

Following the 2003 season, Kelly took over as head coach at Central Michigan. After three seasons of limited success, Kelly moved on to coach Cincinnati. His four seasons with the Bearcats ended with a 34-6 record. And then in 2010, he had his first season with Notre Dame.

This season, Kelly and the Tigers are 5-2 and 3-1 in SEC play. Last season, they ended 6-7 under Ed Orgeron.

The Tigers host No. 7 Ole Miss this weekend.

About Jolie Katzen

Jolie Katzen is a fourth-year Journalism major with a focus on sports media at the University of Florida.

Check Also

Pat Dooley’s Back Nine: Former Florida Standout Does Us Proud

The Back Nine comes at you after a weekend that was all about golf. Playing, …