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December 11, 2010

Foley goes outside the box, Muschamp is his man

ALL ABOUT WILL MUSCHAMP: Possible assistant coaches | Muschamp Big 12 Recruiter of the Year | Will Muschamp Bio | Is Texas coach the next UF offensive coordinator? | Video: Getting to know Will Muschamp | Muschamp Big 12 Recruiter of the Year

Florida Director of Athletics Jeremy Foley joked that he would try to hire a new head coach by the Gators first game in September during Wednesday's press conference to announce the retirement of Urban Meyer.
It took him considerably less time than that.

Just four days after The Gator Nation learned that Meyer would be stepping away for good this time, Foley announced Saturday night that Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, 39, will be his new head football coach. Muschamp, a one-time Gainesville native, is the third football coach hired by Foley -- Meyer and Ron Zook were the other two.

"This is a dream come true to be the head football coach of the Florida Gators," Muschamp said in a statement released by UF on Saturday night. "I grew up watching the Gators and whatever other SEC team was on television. I have great memories watching SEC football with my father on Saturdays and playing football in the back yard with my two brothers right here in Gainesville."

The announcement of Muschamp as the new UF head coach comes as somewhat of a surprise to many who thought Bob Stoops, Dan Mullen, Charlie Strong or Chris Petersen would be leaving one of their respective schools to coach in Gainesville.

Muschamp's name was rarely mentioned in the speculation that accompanies a coaching search, leaving many wondering -- who exactly is Will Muschamp?

And why Will Muschamp?

Though he has no head coaching credentials and is younger than most of the other rumored candidates, Muschamp's SEC ties run deep.

Muschamp has been the coach-in-waiting at Texas since November of 2008, tabbed to take over for Mack Brown much in the same way Jimbo Fisher was named coach-in-waiting as FSU in Bobby Bowden's final years.

Muschamp was hired as defensive coordinator at Texas in January that same year after defensive coordinator stints at LSU and Auburn. He was also on the Miami Dolphins defensive staff between those two jobs. As a player, he walked on as a safety at Georgia from 1991-94.

Over the past three seasons at Texas, Muschamp's defenses rank in the top in sacks, yards per rushing attempt, rushing yards per game and yards per game.

All of these credentials made Muschamp UF's lone target for Meyer's vacancy, according to Foley.

"We are thrilled to have coach Muschamp lead our football program," Foley said in a statement. "Coach Muschamp is someone we targeted from the beginning and he is the guy we wanted. He is the only person we met with and the only person we offered the job to. When we started the search for our next head coach we wanted a coach who was familiar with the Southeastern Conference. We wanted a candidate who was a relentless recruiter and was familiar with recruiting in the state of Florida. We wanted a candidate who was high energy and had been on the big stage. We wanted a candidate who was respected by his players and his peers and we wanted someone who had a passion for the University of Florida. Coach Muschamp is all of those things and more. He is a grounded family man with a wonderful wife and we welcome them into our Gator family."


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