UF’s Stricklin on speculation: ‘We are in middle of search process’

Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin. [Kaila Jones/Correspondent]


It’s still early in Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin’s search for a new football coach, but the rumors and false information are already spiraling out of control on social media.

If those rumors and reports were to be believed, Chip Kelly would have been introduced as the Gators’ new coach at a news conference Wednesday.

He was not, of course.

Here is the real news at this point in the search: there is no legitimate news coming from any verifiable sources. That would be Stricklin himself and any of the potential candidates.

“The only thing I know for certain is we are in the middle of a search process,” Stricklin told The Sun on Wednesday.

 So, let’s just say that most of the stuff that’s out there right now — mostly about Kelly — is speculation/guessing at best.

The rumors about Kelly started on the weekend and reached a fevered pitch on what would become a frantic Tuesday on social media.

There were rumors that Stricklin was taking a UAA jet to Connecticut to meet with Kelly and bring him home Tuesday night or Wednesday. The flight never took off — and Stricklin never left town.

He spoke at a sports administration class at UF in the afternoon and attended the women’s basketball game that night.

In between those two events, the “big news” of the day appeared on the fan website Gator Country, a report that there is a deal in place between UF and Kelly that only needed to be signed to become official. It gave details, saying it was a six-year deal with a big budget for hiring assistant coaches and other success-based incentives.

Gator fans on social media were ecstatic, convinced the innovative and highly successful former Oregon and Philadelphia Eagles coach was the Gators’ new coach.

But hold on.

A source close to the search told The Sun on Wednesday that Stricklin and UF have not negotiated money or contract with any potential candidates yet. That, of course, would include Kelly.

Kelly could be UF’s No. 1 target. Then, again, maybe he’s not. Only Stricklin knows for sure.

When this search started the day after Jim McElwain and UF parted ways, Stricklin stressed that it was going to be a private one. That’s the way it’s been, and the way it’s going to remain.

Stricklin has been adamant about it.

“I will do everything I can to keep the search process and the details of the search process confidential,” Stricklin said on Oct. 29. “We all understand rumors tend to run rampant in these situations and because of that a lot of what people read and what you hear will not be accurate.”

And that’s right where we are right now. There’s a lot of stuff flying around out there, but the accuracy has to be questioned with every bit of “news” that is reported.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or robbie.andreu@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.


  1. “We are in the middle of the search process” could mean they’ve identified their man and are working out details, or it could mean they’re still doing their due diligence on candidates. The only thing we know for sure at this point is that it won’t be Andreu or Dooley breaking the news when it actually happens.

  2. There is so much speculation that it’s Chip Kelly that if in the end it’s Dan Mullen or anyone not named Kelly or Frost, you’ll have widespread disappointment. Fans will be disappointed in SS for not picking their guy. Get over it! I’m sure SS is doing what needs to be done. Personally, I still prefer Frost even over Kelly. CK has not stayed in one place very long where Frost is young and could be here a long time. The same is true for Mullen or a lot of other guys. Finally, I have a friend of a friend who knows the uncle of a former football player who is friends of a pro golfer that talks often with the groundskeeper of a prominent Bull Gator who said there was a lot of Frost on the grass in the swamp. Just sayin

  3. It is a coincidence that our current AD was formerly the AD at MSU, where Dan Mullen is the HC. Dan Mullen is a proven OC and HC. He was our OC under Urban Meyer when we won (count them) TWO national titles. He has done very well at MSU despite the very heavy competition (living in Bama’s shadow is not easy). MSU played Bama to a tie last week until Bama threw a last minute touchdown to win that game. We are talking about Bama, not LSU, not even UGA. Let’s bring Coach Mullen from Starkeville to Gainesville, if he wants to make the jump. Let’s guarantee him at least five years to rebuild our football program. Tell the fans to shut up and let Coach Mullen do what he does best. It will take at least 2-3 years before we can win consistently again with our offense (assisted by our defense). This is after 10 years of the defense carrying our team. Let’s go with the tried and true, and a HC who has not had the discipline problems we have seen here at UF (like nine players suspended during the off-season – this pretty much sent the barrel of monkeys going in the wrong direction). Chip Kelly might be a good choice, but does bring some baggage. My top choice is Dan Mullen – the best long-term choice for our football program, which definitely needs stability.

    • Ogeron is ready to be a winning head coach. So many ups and downs over the years that it took a while for him to get there. Shannon won during Miami’s worst of times, or at least held it together. Maybe one of those, “….needed more time” scenarios? So there is precedence for what you’re thinking out loud, Frank. My point of departure though is what I think should be house cleaning and culture change, whoever it is who comes in next. And at this point, I don’t really have a damn clue.

      • SHANNON seems to be a quality guy.

        “Shannon won during Miami’s worst of times, ”
        He did not win! He was fired because he did not win!

        UF needs to hire CK asap for dec 20 sign period.
        He he only HC available by then.

        If UF wait until after the season on frost, Va tech HC, Or Mullin, and they do not come to UF, then
        I do not know who is left better than coach Mc that WE JUST FIRED. We also miss critical dec sign up period. Uf must sign large class because of the credit card mess. Many recruits will be off the board after the dec period.

        I do not know if Chip K is best possible HC , but may be best pick before dec 20.

        CK need the next 3 weeks to recruit.

        UF hire CK now!

  4. From a fan base perspective, Kelly would be a horrible choice, if you read comments on this site regularly, the fans want a former Florida player/coach, someone with experience recruiting the state, Kelly would be run out of town at the first sign of any kind of failure, more than half the comments lately on this site don’t endorse Kelly. If it is Kelly, Franks is gone, he could never run a Chip Kelly offense, recruiting the type of players Kelly needs to run his offense would take several years, not sure the fans have the patience to wait 3-4 years to win the SEC and/or make the CFP.

    • Kevin Patrick. Franks proved this year that he had lots of difficulty running a slow paced, pro style offense. Franks actually is athletic and might be better suited running a high tempo, spread offense and just might be very successful if coached up well, which will happen if Kelly comes to Gainesville.

    • I do not know what fans you speak of?
      Most would be very happy with C K. Fans want wins!!
      You are wrong about how long it would take for CK to turn team around.
      First team is not that badly positioned to rebound.
      We lose punter, duke d, powell. Not really that much.
      Losing Franks is not the end of the world, he is 2.5 years in system and still can not run the team. Game is to fast for him. He can not quick read the defense sets. He is the opposite of W Grier.
      True CK will be recruiting fast athletic players.
      Not Pro set like FSU, Bama, Miami, Ga. and all the SEC teams UF will be recruiting against. State of Fla is full of fast athletic players that would love to play CK style team. So I believe not only would he keep current #6 ranked team , but will go up. Playing his style against SEC team will be every successful. (maybe) Anybody reminder SOS coming to UF with different offence that killed SEC teams.

      CK is not a sure thing (no one is) and maybe not 20 yr man. But risk reward says it is worth it.

      I for one would be glad to go through HC in 4 yrs with 2 NC again. No problem!!!

  5. I agree with Zack. I think Dan Mullen is an average coach and has coached mediocre teams in his 9 seasons at Miss St. Mullen will never win a national championship nor will he ever win an SEC Championship no matter where he goes. I’m hot and cold with Chip Kelly. He already has stated he hates recruiting. That right there tells me if he were to come to UF that it wouldn’t be a long tenure. Stricklin needs to slow down and think long and hard before rushing into hiring Kelly.

    • Actually, he didn’t say he hated recruiting…what he said was he liked his schedule better with the NFL than College…which is understandable…Spurrier, said basically the same thing when he was in the NFL…all three of the above coaches mentioned have positives and negatives…my least favorite is Mullen…I lost a lot of respect for the man ….when his DC left Miss. St. to come to Florida and he made the comment why would he take a lateral position at Florida…that comment still sits with me today…I’m really not sure, but I do think KELLY might be the best choice, he’s played big boy football with success for quite a few years and coached in the NFL…SCOTT on the other hand is a young coach, but, I’m still not sold on him, because the level of play…it’s a lot easier to win when you’re not playing, Pac 10, SEC, Big 10, or ACC & SW conference teams on a regular basis. I think both 3-6 teams FSU and UF would certainly beat UCF…I believe both teams would have at least 9 wins had they played the same schedule and UCF would probably have the same record had they played either UF or FSU schedule.

      • Cody Urban Meyer earned his name coaching at lower tier schools like Bowling Green and Utah, yes Utah wasn’t the same level they are now when he coached there. He dominated when he moved up to the highest level. Frost is dominating the competition he’s facing with a bunch of players 3 stars or less. He’s also leading the nation in scoring, something Meyer never did at that level. I don’t know how you can’t assume he’d do the same thing at UF with the talent he’ll get there. I mean Kelly had zero experience as a HC when he took over at Oregon. This whole idea of Frost doing it at a lower level and not having enough experience is ridiculous. He’s a young hungry coach who took a freaking winless team to undefeated and the highest scoring offense in the country in 2 years. It’s crazy to me that every Gator fan out there doesn’t have this guy #1 on their list. I have no doubt in a few years from now, if the Gators don’t hire him, every Gator fan that wanted someone else is going to wish they got Frost when they had the chance.

        • This is where you have become misguided, Joe…Urban’s record as a head coach was 39-8 in his 4 years at Bowling Green (17-6) and Utah( 22-2) before he came to UF…the biggest difference between Frost and Urban is the level of completion .. .Urban beat the likes of Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas, Cal., Pitt. Oregon, Arizona, BYU and North Carolina. Frost on the other hand is 1-3 against the power 5 conferences…Frost may end up being a great coach later on …but at this point give me Kelly he’s a proven HC… I don’t think Frost is ready for the SEC, just yet. As, a bull gator for over 30 yrs … my recommendation would be Kelly first and my second choice would be to give Frost a chance if Kelly doesn’t take the job.

      • He is competing with the same type of player. In their conference essentially all the players are of equal quality and he has won. UCF is winning because of his coaching. Look where they were last year. They did not suddenly get bunch of good players. The coaching made the difference. Everybody screaming for Kelly remember Frost was the OC underKelly

  6. I’ll speak for myself. The best choice is Scott Frost. Two years ago UCF was winless. Last year they went to a bowl game. This year 9-0 and ranked 18. If he can do that in Orlando, imagine what he could with the resources UF has to offer. GO GATORS!!

    • Billy it’s mind boggling to me that he’s not #1 on everyone’s list. They guy will be at whatever power 5 program he goes to for a very long time. He doesn’t come across as someone who wants to coach in the NFL. What he’s done there in such a short amount of time is unheard of. Everyone wants to claim yeah but he’s doing it against less competition. So what? He’s also doing it with less talent. The talent he’d get at UF would make his offense lethal. It’s just crazy to me that people are getting so enamored with what Kelly did 5 years ago that they’re just looking right past the fact that he’ll probably only be at his next college job for a couple of years, and they’re also looking right past the fact that major recruiting violations were going on right under his nose. I think the majority of this fan base is a glutton for punishment. They’re willing to accept a couple of years of success for another 10 years of mediocrity. You’d think they learned there lesson from Meyer and want some stability with the program after the disaster it’s been for the last 8 years.

  7. Mullen ain’t coming to florida his wife said she couldn’t go grocery shopping on Sunday if we didn’t score 40 pts a game when he was O.C. because of the backlash. In other words she didn’t like it here. Chip Kelly is the only homerun. Scott Frost couldn’t handle the pressure of being a head coach here he’s better off where he is for another couple of years.

    • Frost inherited team that was 0-12. The Pac 12 is not exactly a great conference. When Kelly was there USC and Washington were not very good. The Pac1 2 is more like the SEC east, it does not take a good team to win it.

  8. I agree with Billy. Remember Frost was the offensive coordinator under Kelly and he is young and would be a stable fit in the long run. He has shown his ability to lead the Central Florida to national status and just wait to see him beat Charlie Strongs South Florida in the last game in less than 10 days

    • Sorry, but UCF is not at national status, not even in the discussion for the CFP, it’s UCF playing in the AAC, a nice “junior” program, but nowhere close to a power 5 contender, they’d be as consistent in the SEC as Vandy or Mizzou.

      • If Frost were at Florida he would get 4 and 5 stars he gets 2’s and maybe 3’s at UCF. You have to compare apples to apples. If UF wants Kelly he is there right now but nothing has happened. Either he wants to come here but wants a contract comparable to Saban or he is not the first choice of Strickland. I do not think UF is ready to put him in the same category as Saban

  9. Don’t kid yourself. UCF would beat our sorry Mac Attack by at least 2 scores. UCF is a well-coached football team even without the star rankings. The last two teams we lost to, the closest game by 8 points, sucked. We just sucked worse. So tired of this and ready for a positive change – in leadership.

  10. I’ve read alot on the net from guys who HAVE been right, who have called things right in the past, including Mac’s firing, days before the Gainesville Sun reported it. You have ten unreliable guys posting this or that for every one who IS reliable. The lawyer Heitner was NOT the first to report Mac would be fired, but he got credit for it, so he’s considered an authority on this search by some, but he’s regurgitating what you can get on pay sites, some accurate, some not.
    I truly believe UF IS deep into negotiations with Kelly. With Kelly you get instant credibility(and some fear from our rivals!), and being the alpha-male type coach we’ve missed, he can get the facilities up to par(thanks, Foley, the gift that keeps giving), and get us back on track fast, I believe. I share concerns about how long he’d stay, but we’d no doubt be better and in better shape for the next guy if we DO get Kelly. Long term, I agree with those who think Frost could be better for UF(rising star, 12 years younger, Next SOS?, Kelly offense, recruiting ties in FLA, may stay 10 years or more), but if we don’t know for certain that we do have him, and Kelly is available, you certainly take him. Neb. probably wants Frost badly, it’s his alma mater- crummy opportunity for him recruiting-wise, but mama is calling.

    • Kelly vs Miles? Not even close. Miles had no idea how to coach an offense and his teams largely underperformed. Kelly’s offenses were innovative and varied week to week depending on the defenses he faced. He also has a long history of developing underperforming QBs. He would be a homerun hire.

  11. At this point it’s Kelly, Frost or major disappointment. I would take either but Kelly can start now without paying a buyout. Frost would have to be a wait and see after the season and we would be competing with Nebraska anyway. This has to be a splash hire or this fan base will push another guy out the door 3 years from now leaving us in perpetual Tennessee Land for another decade. No coach would touch this job with our awesome track record of firing guys in the middle of their contract. SS reputation is on the line with this one.

  12. Kelly’s teams never played great defense and you have to have that in the SEC to win championships and just because he would be at Florida doesn’t mean he’ll do that as that is what his teams do – great offense and outscore you. That won’t work in the SEC. Spurrier and Meyer had excellent defenses too! Plus his personality is not strong enough for us.

    • That is what they said about SOS when he came to UF.
      Agreed C K will have to hire Good DC (like B Stoops) .
      WM def is gone, so someone will have to grow it again.
      New DC will be critical hire. SEE UF (under WM), Ga, & So Car defences to see what impact coach can have and how fast that can happen.

  13. You hire a coach for the now not for a decade. In our 100 year and 26 coaches only one lasted a decade and that was SOS. We all hate change and hope our coach will last a decade, but reality says the next coach will not be here that long therefore it should be a criteria for the hire.

    • Lets see Mullen coaches Miss ST = to Vandy. The most difficult SEC team to win with.
      He coaches in the SEC west = best 7 team division in all BIG BOY conferences.
      He wins 9 games a year.

      He may never win NC, but he would clearly be better than who ever is after Chip K, UCF Frost, Vir Tech HC.

  14. HGG good point. Most want CK or SF and we may not get either. SF is building something special at UCF and the school adores him. He might want to stick to a school that he knows will have his back and not hate on him when uf stumbles. I can understand that. If he continues to do well at UCF they will find a bigger better conference. I would not be surprised if its Dan Mullen who gets the job. Frankly, he has shown the ability to coach qb’s, he has won in the west division that is a killer, he almost beat bama with his team, a team that isn’t going to attract the highest talent. I think a lot of people underestimate DM. I’ll be happy with just about anyone not named Mac.

  15. Kelly’s Oregon teams weren’t world-beaters on D, but they weren’t bad, either. Statistically they were reasonably good, and better if you consider that Oregon scoring drives averaged a minute or two! This means more posessions for the opponent, and more yards and points. So he doesn’t win the time of posession like Muschamp did, but he DOES win the games, and in exciting fashion, like Muschamp(and Mac) DIDN’T. Certainly he needs good depth on D.
    BTW, I really believe Kelly is a “done deal”, and if not, that Stricklin already has his man. If he doesn’t, and he makes a Foley-like “meh” hire, his confident tweets and such are going to make him hated.

    • I’ve heard that argument before about Kelly with the short drives but I don’t buy it. His teams at Oregon got better at defense but still weren’t good enough to beat the higher echelon teams like those in the SEC i.e. Auburn. He has to outscore you. Spurrier’s offense had plenty of short drives but we still had great defenses and you have to have that to win championships in the SEC.

  16. A lot of young talented coaches out there right now. There’s no reason why Florida can’t hire one of them. As long as Foley keeps his nose out of it then there’s no reason. We need to get one who knows how to recruit 4 and 5 star players. That’s #1 to me. Doesn’t matter how good a coach you are, if you haven’t got the right players, then you will have 6 wins and 6 losts each year. Next is being able run a offense that will have the other team guessing all the time. Of course you got to have defense, one that can create turnovers. And last special teams, which we don’t have right now. Hopefully we can keep the recruits that we have now. My picks are Frost,Campell,or Strong in that order. Whoever it is I for one will be pulling for him to suceed. GO GATORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • So your first requirement is to be able to recruit 4 and 5-star players. How many are on UCF’s roster this year? Don’t get me wrong, Scott Frost is doing an awesome job, but there’s no evidence of him being able to land what you want.

      If you have an offense that keeps the other teams guessing all the time then you’re playing opponents which morons as coaches. They evaluate the upcoming opponents and watch the video, analyze trends, etc. You can have them confused at times but generally they’re going to know what to expect in situations.

      Regarding keeping the recruits who have verbally committed, yes I would like to see them follow through. But you have to ask, if McElwain had such a keen eye for talent, why are we where we are now? Yes I know he wasn’t much of a coach, or at least not at Florida he wasn’t, but did he really evaluate talent correctly?

      Personally I would like to see Chip Kelly come to UF and get our offense out of the mud. Maybe he’s not the most fun person to be around, but I don’t have to be around him.

      • Last I checked about ten days ago Kell had nothing but three-star recruits 18. Since then they’ve added a two-star offensive tackle so it’s up to 19. They are ranked 44th in the country, we have ten three star recruits and are considered in the top ten or so.

  17. Kelly’s game with Auburn was somewhat if a defensive struggle, and his D held Cam reasonably well in check. Lost on last play. That Auburn team virtually scored at will on and creamed every SEC team they played. Also, Kelly went against Harbaugh and Carroll, pretty good defensive coaches, when at Oregon, and whiooed them.

    • I like him the best also, but
      He will not be available until after the dec 20 sign period.
      He may not want to leave UCF.
      If he did leave it would probably be to his Alma mater Nebraska.
      if we wait on him and do not get him , then who will be left that UF would want?
      I mean better coaches than WM and Mc that we fired.
      I mean coaches that would leave where they are to come to UF.

      Once we get past CK, Frost, VT HC, Mullen, we may be hoping to get better result than we got from WM or Mc.

      There is possibility that UF does not get top 3 choice, & get another guy that is not top 3 choice. Then we will get another HC about the same as WM or McE