Just who is Foley looking for?


Jeremy Foley addresses the media n this Gainesville Sun file photo. Foley says he won't conduct his search publicly.

File photo
Published: Friday, December 10, 2010 at 4:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 10, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.

Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley knows the credentials the next Florida coach must have. The main prerequisites are obvious.

Foley said his candidates must have a winning pedigree that will carry over in Gainesville and must "fit in," not only with him and the program, but in the city.

He also doesn't want to fall into the trap of going after coaches who have little to no interest in the job.

"The key to this whole deal is that you have to have a successful search," Foley said Thursday. "Sometimes you go through this search and everybody thinks that everybody's brother wants to pick up and leave and come to Florida. It doesn't always work that way."

In order to gather as much information as possible, Foley created a search team when Meyer first called him last Saturday with thoughts of resigning. He and his team have been researching and collecting data on potential candidates. Foley said he's made a list of potential candidates and has laid out some positives and negatives for each, but wouldn't comment on any names.

Of course, the speculation began the moment Meyer's resignation went public. Rumors of Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, who was Meyer's offensive coordinator at Florida from 2005-08, already accepting the job cluttered Twitter and Internet message boards Wednesday.

Thursday, Day 1 of the search, brought even more speculation, as former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden made an appearance at the signing party and spoke with Meyer and Foley. Soon, the Internet was burning with talk of the three discussing Florida's opening.

Foley, who said his preference would be to have a private conversation with candidates in a spaceship in outer space, is steering clear of all rumors.

"The rumor mill is the rumor mill," he said. "No disrespect to ESPN, I won't watch any of that. It's distracting and there are enough distractions as there are."

What he hopes doesn't become another distraction is Meyer's stay in Gainesville. Meyer reiterated he intends to stay in Gainesville for "a long time" and would like to help Florida's program as much as Foley and the next coach will allow.

Foley said Meyer will be a part of the program in some capacity and could even have an office at Florida's football complex. Foley added each candidate will be informed about Meyer's role, and he will make sure his hire is comfortable with Meyer staying around the program.

While neither Foley nor Meyer know what role exactly Meyer will have, Foley believes Meyer will "handle it the right way" and won't interfere with the new coach's plans.

"He will not do anything around the football program where he's not welcome," Foley said of Meyer. "He's smarter than that. He just wouldn't do that."

Meyer said he wasn't sure if he would assist in Florida's coaching search and wouldn't comment on anyone he'd be interested in seeing replace him.

As far as the next coach's offensive philosophy, Foley said that won't matter. Foley said he's more concerned with finding a successful replacement who is coming to Florida with the thought of this being an end job than whether Florida will continue to run the spread.

Foley wants to find the right man who plans to make Gainesville his home for the long run.

"It's not a conversation for one year," he said. "It's a conversation for 10 years, 12 years if you're lucky, 15 years if you're lucky. You have to look at it in that realm."

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