To replace Muschamp, Florida should consider Mike Shanahan

“Just don’t come after my job, OK?” (John Bazemore/AP)

"Just don't come after my job, OK?" (John Bazemore/AP)

“Just don’t come after my job, OK?” (John Bazemore/AP)

A man who knows a lot about college football — he used to coach it, and he’s in the Hall of Fame — dropped me a note Sunday to point out something I’d missed. (I miss a lot, as we know.) Had Southern Cal beaten Notre Dame in the teams’ regular-season finale in 2012, Florida would have played Alabama — which would edge Georgia the next week for the SEC title — for the BCS title.

Yes, Florida. Yes, as coached by Will Muschamp.

The Gators had gone 11-1 in the regular season, losing only to Georgia. It was a weird 11-1 — Florida’s offense was, as per usual under Muschamp, terrible — but still: If you play for a national championship in January 2013, the odds of you getting shown the door in November 2014 are pretty long. (Here we insert the obligatory Gene Chizik reference, who was canned by Auburn two seasons after winning the BCS title.)

It’s fair to say that whatever the Gators did right in 2012 — lest we forget, they were routed by Louisville in the Sugar Bowl — wasn’t sustainable. They went 4-8 last season, losing at home to Georgia Southern. They’re 5-4 now, having lost three home games (to LSU, to Missouri and to South Carolina) that should never have been lost. On Sunday, it was announced that Muschamp wouldn’t return for the 2015 season.

Somehow the Gators beat Georgia, a loss that could well keep the Bulldogs from winning anything of consequence. But even that extraordinary result didn’t mask what had been apparent for more than a year: Muschamp wasn’t an SEC head coach. To Florida’s credit, it finally acknowledged as much. So now we ask: Who’s next?

The most obvious name would seem Dan Mullen, once Florida’s offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer and now Mississippi State’s head coach. But I’ve heard for years — I first heard it in 2011, when Mullen was being mentioned as a possible replacement for Mark Richt — that Florida folks were never crazy about Mullen. Sure enough, Brett McMurphy of ESPN has reported that Mullen isn’t on the Gators’ list.

Bob Stoops was Steve Spurrier’s defensive coordinator at Florida, but I’m not sure he’d leave Oklahoma for another college job. (Maybe the NFL, as noted earlier.) Charlie Strong was Meyer’s defensive coordinator in Gainesville, but he’s in Year 1 at Texas and Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has said he’s leaning toward an offensive-minded man. (Muschamp was a career defensive coordinator.)

Some are lobbying for Spurrier — the ultimate offensive-minded man — to make a triumphant return to his alma mater, but Spurrier at 69 seems closer to retirement than to Fun ‘n’ Gun, Take 2. But there is a former Florida offensive coordinator available whose arrival would make a massive splash in The Swamp.

He’s Mike Shanahan, a winner of two Super Bowls with Denver but whose career was jump-started by his partnership with Charley Pell on the Run & Shoot Gators of the early ’80s. Georgia fans will recall that it was Florida, with Wayne Peace at quarterback and Cris Collinsworth and Tyrone Young as receivers, that led the 1980 national champions-to-be inside the final two minutes in Jacksonville, at which time Buck Belue threw to Lindsay Scott, who ran so fast and so far he induced Larry Munson to break his chair.

Shanahan is 62, and his four years with the Washington Redskins didn’t end well, but still: He’s Mike Shanahan. He’s a Big Name for a Big Program. If he has interest in coaching college football — he hasn’t since leaving Gainesville after the 1983 season — he’d be a man for Foley to interview. And maybe the man for Foley to hire.

One thing more: That guy I know who knows a lot about college football? He told me in September that Florida’s next coach would be Mike Shanahan. He said he’d heard it from a Gator booster — the same Gator booster who told him back in 2004 that Foley was about to fire Ron Zook and would hire Urban Meyer.

Reader Comments 0

170 comments
Bruce Chovnick
Bruce Chovnick

Before going too far with this ludicrous idea, let's remember the legacy Mike Shanahan left college football and the Gators. His last job was Florida's offensive coordinator from 80-83. And shortly after he left for the NFL, Florida was hit with crippling recruiting violations. 107 alleged serious infractions committed on his watch, left the Gators in shame throughout the remainder of the 80's. Head Coach Charlie Pell was fired abruptly and nearly committed suicide. Meanwhile Shanahan enjoyed his career in the NFL away from the NCAA's arm of authority.


I've always said that Shanahan should never be allowed on a college football field again, and I hope collective memories will not forget nor forgive him for any potential involvement he may have had back then.

grant gilley
grant gilley

really? your source isn't that special. i was 17 in 2004 and i along with the rest of the country knew ron zook was out and urban meyer was the hottest candidate to replace him.  i could have have been "that guy" youre referring to. i dont know why i clicked on an ajc article expecting insightful information about florida.

TheD1Guru
TheD1Guru

Why are you even talking about this moron? 

auriga37
auriga37

If the Gators hire Shanarat, it won't be the first mistake they've ever made.

MH18
MH18

Doc Holiday would be the better hire.

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

Mike Shanahan???  62 years old, no college experience, 18 years removed from Super Bowl success. Pretty much a farce while with the Redskins.  NFL teams aren't exactly clamoring for him to come out of retirement, why should UF? 

(And the same goes with Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Jerry Glanville, Sam Wyche, George Seifert, . . . .)

scp1
scp1

Florida please take Mike Bob.  Please, Please ask him to be head coach.  Please, pretty please

Dawggie
Dawggie

Mark, I think UF can do better than a guy who's been fired twice.

Mezark
Mezark

Ok; but Gators better not forget about defense. It is my opinion that Charlie Strong had just as much to do with Florida's success in 2 national championship seasons as Urban Meyer did. Gators had awesome defenses those years. Tebow and company always had superb field position to operate; thanks to their defense.  I'll give Meyer credit for their great special teams though.

CaliDawg
CaliDawg

Offensive minded, as in...LANE KIFFIN!!!

TampGator1
TampGator1

@CaliDawg 


Just read the lines (not between them) from Foley's speech on Monday. Foley said he was going to hire a CURRENT head coach with a successful record of coaching offense.  He could be a coach like Stoops (who is a defensive coach) but has had success with his offense at Oklahoma.  Also someone like the TCU coach (who is also a defensive mind).  Shanahan is NOT a current head coach  Neither is Kiffin.  Neither is the OC at Clemson.  But Chip Kelly is.   

Tougher
Tougher

…..and everybody knows I am a Gamecock wholeheartedly …but your out sponce is f tarded and lazy with unfounded delliegence on your part.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Tougher

Well, you certainly write like a Gamecock would. Talk about gibberish!

Tougher
Tougher

…..dude you are taking the lazy way on your selection…so nuts! ThERE are so many good candidates out there you and I have never heard of/from…know of. I would fire you if I were your boss...

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

dog in co married?


I vote NO"


Oh-IO have a life?  No

Oh-IO ever play any sport unless running his mouth is a sport? No

Oh-IO have thin skin?  yes



TampGator1
TampGator1

@Wayne


Florida 38, Georgia 20........terrible.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

I think MB's next column on who Foley should hire should be on a Power5 OC whose team has a great shot at the NC.  The guy is an awesome recruiter, helped develop a Heisman trophy winning QB, has experience in the pros and is not only married to a UF alum but his father in law was a star QB who is in the UF HOF.

PigIron
PigIron

@PaulinNH

Yes, but does he have experience as a CFB HC?

If so, then I suppose he meets "the criteria". ;-)

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@PigIron @PaulinNH 

Of course he has experience as a CFB HC - at 2 schools that have won MNC's in the BCS era - one is even in the SEC. 

By my reckoning that "checks all the boxes".  Now all we have to do is wait for the white smoke to come out of TampaGator's chimney.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@PaulinNH @PigIron

It's more likely to be coming out of his rear end. He's always blowing smoke, after all.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Why doesn't anyone offer CMR another job...........huh????......yea....Huh?

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

I bet he throws the offers in the trash.

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

@gtcaryd you know all when it comes to UGA football...go dogs

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@Dewnsav @gtcaryd Figured i would draw you out like the infection in a boil.....jelly out of a donut?

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@Dewnsav @gtcaryd I could use some..........my roids are so big i sneezed while sitting on the toilet and sucked all the water out of the toilet!

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

I don't know what it is about GA sports fans accepting years of underwhelming results while teams around them go through the typical sports cycle of building, perfecting, competing for titles, and then rebuilding. At least UF has a real chance of achieving greatness again while UGA, GT, Braves, Hawks, and Falcons will settle for the occasional division title and even rarer playoff win.

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

kudo's to DawginCo for getting under the stinger of the faux Ohio State fan...personally, I don't care who Florida's next coach is...go dogs

OH-IO
OH-IO

dog jn co eats fruit loops for breakfast


Gets his dog day off to a fruity start.

OH-IO
OH-IO

dog in co,


I have family "in co".


I am embarrassed for them

OH-IO
OH-IO

dog in co.


You will be an afterthought in tonight's conversation. 


Sucks to be you. 

OH-IO
OH-IO

Quiz:


dog in co married?


I vote NO

slydawg
slydawg

Mike Shanahan is 62 years old and MB has lost his mind selling this hype just to get article hits. A college coach has to do entirely too much off the field in order to be successful. This is not Shanahan's expertise. Florida should have hired Shanahan before they hired Muschamp and before Shanahan took the Redskins'' job. They need a spark and a youthful, creative one at that. However, Rich Rodriguez or Mike Gundy will suffice.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@slydawg 

All I can think here is that MB  has jumped the shark

DawginCO
DawginCO

Now I am not saying it will happen but if Foley wants to slit his wrists, hiring Shanahan is a great idea.  All of Florida's rivals will be high supportive of such a move.  They all love a barely bowl eligible Florida Gator team for the foreseeable future!

OH-IO
OH-IO

@DawginCO


Promoting suicide, dog in co. ?


You really are a piece of work and a POS.

skraeling
skraeling

I suggest Paul Johnson..


He's an offensive genus - just ask him.


He likes fish fries.


And a proven winner at GSU (who beat UF lst year), Navy & GT!

RuePaulJohnson
RuePaulJohnson

Sorry MB, but Shanahan is a horrible choice, he's 30 years removed from CFB, has no relationship with HS FB coaches in Florida, in fact when is the last time that Shanahan sat in the living room of a recruit and his parent  and had to beat out Saban, Les Miles, and Richt for a recruit.

Not many 62 y/o guys make great recruiters when they have been away from CFB for 30+ years.

If you're gonna get a a guy that age , go after Baylor's HC  Art Briles, he does wonders with QBs, and UF has the budget to find an Ace-DC to take of the other side of the ball.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

Shanahan?  Mike Shanahan?  Last seen getting his franchise QB killed in DC?  Bradley has officially lost it.

Shanahan is 62 years old, hasn't coached in college in 30 years and isn't bringing an in his prime John Elway with him.

DawginCO
DawginCO

UF will go with a younger "hot list" coach.  They need continuity.  The recruiting base is such that a coach at UF could recruit only Floridians and still have Top 5 recruiting classes every year.  The trick will be to get an offensive mind that has proven that he values defense as well.  That is a tough find.  UF will not go with Patterson because he is a defensive minded coach and right now Florida need to recruit QBs and WRs.  They need a guy who has a proven track record of developing QBs.  Ot atleast has shown he knows how to hire QB gurus.


That is a might short list when you put the qualifier of being a big name and proven record of success.  There is a ton of up and coming talent but none of those guys will get a shot unless Foley's short list dries up on him.