Getting To Know Napier

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The college football regular season is over.

Some coaches at prominent programs were fired and vacant positions are being filled.

USC lured Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma about 24 hours after they lost to Oklahoma State. He was the most high-profile coach on the market.

The Florida Gators fired head coach Dan Mullen. In my opinion Urban Meyer should have been targeted to return to Gainesville. He’s struggling in his first season in Jacksonville. Instead, the Gators hired Billy Napier, who is currently the head ball coach at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Napier played quarterback for Furman from 1999 – 2002 and took over as the starting quarterback his junior year. He led the Paladins to the 2001 NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game and they lost to Montana, 13 – 6. He earned second-team All-Southern Conference honors in 2001 and 2002.

His father is a high school football coach in Northern Georgia. Napier followed in his footsteps and started as a Grad Assistant at Clemson from 2003-04. From 2006-08 he was the tight end coach and recruiting coordinator for the Tigers.

In 2008 Tommy Bowden resigned and Dabo Swinney was named the interim head. Swinney promoted him to quarterback coach. When Swinney was promoted to the full-time head coach after the 2008 season, he promoted Napier to offensive coordinator. In 2009 Clemson scored a then school record 436 points and won the ACC Atlantic Division.

The offense was not nearly as productive in 2010 and he was fired after the season.

In 2011 he was hired by Nick Saban as an offensive analyst for Alabama. In 2012 and 2013 he made coaching stops at Colorado State and Florida State.

In 2013 he returned to Tuscaloosa as wide receiver coach and stayed there until 2016. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Arizona State in 2017.

In 2018 he was hired for the head coach position at Louisiana-Lafayette. His record for the Ragin’ Cajuns is 39 -12. They were 12 -1 this season and beat Appalachian State in the Sun Belt Championship game.

Hiring coaches from the Nick Saban coaching tree is very popular, considering he’s the best college coach of all time.

Every program is hoping they can replicate his success. Napier will make the 27th former Saban assistant to get hired as a head coach.

I think this is a decent hire for Florida. They have someone who has proven he is capable of turning a program around.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I rate this as a 7. Hopefully he can turn the Gators back into a powerhouse.