After arriving in Gainesville, new Florida Gators head football coach, Will Muschamp was expected to fill the large void left by Urban Meyer. Muschamp was seen by many as the next great college football coach, but his tenure with the Gators has gone far below his once lofty expectations. Muschamp entered week nine with a 27-20 career record and more disappointing a 5-3 campaign in 2014. This season was viewed as the make-or-break year for Muschamp, and after Saturday’s 23-20 overtime loss to South Carolina, it appears his next move is out the door.
A source close to the Florida program told ESPN.com Sunday that Muschamp will coach the remaining two games before stepping down as head coach. The whispers surrounding Muschamp’s departure began during the off-season after Muschamp guided the Gators to their first losing season (4-8) since the 1979 campaign. Fans and Florida administration gave him the benefit of the doubt due to the laundry list of injuries the Gators endured last season, but his margin for error 2014 was substantially smaller.
These struggles continued when quarterback Jeff Driskel was unable to get the job done for Florida forcing Muschamp to turn to true freshman quarterback Treon Harris. Harris has been an upgrade over the senior, but was unable to help coach Muschamp retain his job.
The peal of Muschamp’s coaching stint came back in 2012 when the Gators were ranked as high as number two in the country before setting with an 11-2 record.
Immediately, fans should expect the hunt for the next head coach to begin as Florida holds one of the most prestigious coaching jobs in America. The top three commodities in the coaching world appear to be Gus Malzahn, who has elevated the Auburn program, offensive genius Art Briles and Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, who has a history with the Florida program and led his Bulldogs to the top ranked program in the country (prior to Saturday’s loss at Alabama).
Briles’ name has been tossed around for several vacancies, but appears very comfortable at Baylor. Still, a lucrative offer could persuade the offensive innovator to make the move to “The Swamp.”
Mullen spent four seasons as offensive coordinator under Meyer during his tenure at Florida before taking the Starkville job, with many thinking he could someday return. He has dispelled those rumors for now, but Florida will certainly make that phone call at season’s end.
This will be one of the more intriguing stops on the coaching carousel to watch this offseason, one that will likely have a strong ripple effect. Muschamp could end up as a head coach in a lower-profile program, but early speculation is he’ll return to a coordinator position where he had much more success.
*Section Photo credit to Sam Greenwood, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Kim Klement, USA Today Sports