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#pounditMonday, May 16, 2022

Articles tagged: Billy Napier

Billy Napier shares why he finally decided to leave Louisiana Lafayette

Billy Napier wearing a headset

Billy Napier had tremendous success at Louisiana Lafayette for four season before finally deciding to leave and take the Florida Gators job.

Napier had enough success after two seasons to begin receiving interest from other programs. His success after three seasons, when he had gone 21-4 in 2019 and 2020, led him to be mentioned for numerous jobs. But Napier stayed with the Ragin’ Cajuns for a fourth season.

This year, ULL went 13-1 — its best season yet under Napier — and the 42-year-old finally decided to leave.

During Florida’s bowl game on Thursday against UCF, Napier shared why he remained at Lafayette for four seasons before leaving.

“For one, I didn’t think the job was finished at the University of Louisiana. To complete that task and win the conference championship, to have homefield advantage, was a special experience,” Napier told ESPN.

The coach also said his transition from Louisiana to Florida was seamless.

If you’re a Florida fan, that answer should excite you. Napier sounds like a stand-up guy who wanted to carry out a commitment to Louisiana before leaving.

Now he will be taking over a program with very high expectations. Both Jim McElwain and Dan Mullen won double-digit games with the Gators and were fired at the first signs of struggles. Napier will have to be on top of his game.

Photo: Cajuns head coach Billy Napier on sideline as Louisiana Ragin Cajuns take on the Miami University Redhawks in the Lending Tree Bowl in Mobile, AL. Monday, Jan. 6, 2020.
Cajuns Miami Lending Tree Bowl

Billy Napier will reportedly be named head coach at Florida

Billy Napier wearing a headset

Billy Napier has been viewed as the clear frontrunner to replace Dan Mullen as the head coach at Florida, and he is expected to reach an agreement with the school in the near future.

Napier and Florida are working to finalize an agreement, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reports. The deal could be done as early as Sunday afternoon.

It seems like the Gators knew who they wanted from the moment they fired Mullen. There was at least one other school that reportedly showed interest in Napier, but it’s no surprise he chose Florida.

Napier has won at least 10 games in each of the past three seasons as the head coach at Louisiana, where he has been since 2018. He has never coached a Power Five school, but he was the wide receivers coach on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama from 2013-2016. Florida obviously has a great deal of confidence in his ability to recruit and compete in the SEC.

Photo: Cajuns head coach Billy Napier on sideline as Louisiana Ragin Cajuns take on the Miami University Redhawks in the Lending Tree Bowl in Mobile, AL. Monday, Jan. 6, 2020

Florida could name new head coach by next week?

Billy Napier wearing a headset

In contrast to some other prominent college football coaching searches, the Florida Gators appear to be moving very quickly to replace the ousted Dan Mullen.

A clear favorite has emerged for the role, according to Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun. Dooley told 1010 XL’s “The Frangie Show” that “all signs” point to the Gators hiring Louisiana’s Billy Napier, and an announcement could come as soon as Sunday once the Gators’ season ends.

The Gators appear to know exactly what they want. Napier has done an excellent job turning around Louisiana and has ties within the region. The appeal is obvious, and it’s why Florida appeared to be fending off at least one other school to hire him.

This is the second major signal that Napier is the choice in Gainesville. This one looks to be heading toward the finish line quite quickly.

Photo: Cajuns head coach Billy Napier on sideline as Louisiana Ragin Cajuns take on the Miami University Redhawks in the Lending Tree Bowl in Mobile, AL. Monday, Jan. 6, 2020.
Cajuns Miami Lending Tree Bowlv4 3582

Odds change indicates Florida may have next head coach locked up

Dan Mullen with a headset on

Florida fired head coach Dan Mullen on Sunday, and it is starting to sound like they may have already had a replacement in mind when they made the move.

Louisiana head coach Billy Napier has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Florida job. At some point on Monday, oddsmakers seemingly became convinced that the Gators are going to hire him. BetOnline listed Napier as the favorite to be Florida’s next head coach at +350 on Monday morning. Lane Kiffin was next at +500. That same evening, the odds for Napier shifted to +140. Kiffin remained the same.

That is a significant shift and the type that usually only happens if there is inside information or, at the very least, a credible report.

Napier has never coached a Power Five school, but he was the wide receivers coach on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama from 2013-2016. He has won at least 10 games in each of the past three seasons at Louisiana, so it’s no surprise he is drawing interest from major programs.

There is at least one other school that seems interested in Napier, but we’d be surprised if he chose that school over Florida.

Report: Florida and Virginia Tech eyeing same head coach candidate

Billy Napier wearing a headset

The Florida Gators and Virginia Tech Hokies may be competing with each other for one head coaching candidate.

Louisiana coach Billy Napier is poised to be a hot candidate for bigger schools as the coaching carousel heats up, and that already appears to be the case. Florida is interested in bringing him in to replace Dan Mullen, and is aware of interest from Virginia Tech as well, according to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic.

The interest in Napier is no surprise. He has already won ten games in a row with the Ragin’ Cajuns for the third straight season, and his reputation is growing. He has no experience as a head coach in a power conference, though he has notably served as an assistant under Nick Saban at Alabama.

Virginia Tech would seem unlikely to be able to match Florida in a head-to-head battle for a coach. That might be one reason they’re looking at other candidates as well. Either way, Napier appears likely to have the chance to land a better job if he wants it.

Photo: Cajuns head coach Billy Napier on sideline as Louisiana Ragin Cajuns take on the Miami University Redhawks in the Lending Tree Bowl in Mobile, AL. Monday, Jan. 6, 2020.
Cajuns Miami Lending Tree Bowlv4 3582

Louisiana says players do not have to donate to athletic foundation

Louisiana football coach Billy Napier raised an uproar Wednesday when he said that scholarship players would be required to donate $50 a year to the Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Foundation, and the university’s athletic director is quickly walking his comments back.

Bryan Maggard said Friday that Napier was simply trying to raise awareness of the foundation and there would be no requirement, only encouragement.

“Coach Napier’s comments were well-intentioned,” Maggard said, via the Acadiana Advocate. “The purpose was to educate, inform and encourage our student-athletes about the RCAF, so when they grow up and start earning a living, they can become investors in the program.

“If a student-athlete decides to become an investor now, great, but the intention was never to make it mandatory. Whether it’s legal or illegal (according to the NCAA), we would never dictate to student-athletes how they must spend their scholarship money.”

Maggard added that part of the intention was to raise awareness of the program so athletes could contribute after they graduate, but he added that it would only be a small commitment now.

“Certainly no student-athlete has to do this, but if they do choose to start investing now, you’re talking about $2.10 a month,” Maggard said.

Maggard looks to be trying to calm a bit of a PR crisis. A coach asking unpaid players to contribute money to a school fund when schools and the NCAA are raking in millions isn’t a great look, especially contrasted with the growing chorus of sports figures who believe college athletes should at least see some compensation.