Billy Napier is the Florida Gators' next head coach. But who is he?
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Here are a few things to know about Billy Napier:
Who is Billy Napier?
Billy Napier was the head football coach at the University of Louisiana, holding the job since 2018. Previously, he was a highly regarded assistant coach at several schools, including a very short stint at Florida State. He was hired as the Seminoles' tight ends coach in January 2013, but was hired away by Alabama and Nick Saban just a month later.
Before he went into coaching, Napier was a star quarterback at Murray County High School in Chatsworth, Ga., before moving on to Furman. As the starting quarterback for the Paladins, Napier was an All-Southern Conference performer twice, and led Furman to the Division I-AA championship as a senior in 2001, where the Paladins lost to Montana 13-6.
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Who are the University of Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns?
The name of the school may be unfamiliar to those outside of Louisiana and the Deep South, but many may recognize it by its previous names: Southwestern Louisiana (from 1921-1999) and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. It was rebranded to just the University of Louisiana in 2017 — sister school Louisiana-Monroe (formerly Northeast Louisiana) kept its city name.
The team's coach in 1963, Russ Faulkenberry, took it upon himself to rename his team from the decidedly more common Bulldogs to Ragin' Cajuns, to honor the region's people. The school took on the name officially in 1973.
Faulkenberry was the last coach at the school to officially have a winning record prior to Napier, 66-63-2. Napier's predecessor, Mark Hudspeth, had a record of 51-38, but due to NCAA sanctions, 22 of those wins were vacated, leaving him with an official record of 29-38 at Louisiana.
What other coaches were rumored to replace the fired Dan Mullen?
One of the more prominent names to appear on rumor lists was former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who was defensive coordinator under Steve Spurrier. Other high-profile names mentioned include Mississippi State's Mike Leach, Oregon's Mario Cristobal and Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell.
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What is Billy Napier's record?
Napier is currently 38-12.
In his first season, 2018, the Ragin' Cajuns went 7-7 and reached the Sun Belt championship game and a bowl game, and it's only gotten better from there. Louisiana went 11-3 in 2019, 10-1 last season and has a 10-1 record again this season.
Napier has led Louisiana to a bowl game in each of his seasons there, and the Ragin' Cajuns are a likely lock for a berth again this season.
Where did Billy Napier coach before?
Napier was an assistant at Clemson, Alabama, Colorado State and Florida State before landing the offensive coordinator job at Arizona State in 2017. He was only there a year before the Ragin' Cajuns came calling.
What other college football teams were interested in Billy Napier?
According to reports, Napier is also a candidate for job openings at Virginia Tech and LSU. He showed interest in the opening at TCU, but has since backed away from the Horned Frogs.
Was former Gators defensive coordinator Bob Stoops also a candidate for the Florida coaching job?
According to reports, yes, Steve Spurrier's defensive coordinator is being mentioned. However, the former Oklahoma coach has shot down those reports, telling one radio show that he wasn't interested.