Will Muschamp was announced as the University of Florida’s head football coach on December 11, 2010, by Athletics Jeremy Foley. Muschamp, 39, came to UF after being the coach-in-waiting at the University of Texas since November 2008 and is a one-time Gainesville native who returned to North Central Florida as the 23rd head coach in Florida football history.
Muschamp, a 16-year coaching veteran, has 12 years of experience in the Southeastern Conference, eight as a coach and four as a player. Muschamp served as defensive coordinator at Auburn University (2006-07) and LSU (2002-04; he was LSU’s linebackers coach in 2001) and was a finalist for the 2007 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach. The son of a football coach, he turned down appointments at West Point and Annapolis to become a four-year letterman as a safety at the University of Georgia from 1991-94, where he was voted defensive co-captain as a senior.
“This is a dream come true to be the head coach of the Florida Gators,” said Muschamp, who spent 10 years of his childhood living on 27th Street in this city. “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.”
“I’m eager to get to work and represent this great institution,” Muschamp continued. “I’m very thankful for the opportunity given to me by President Dr. Bernie Machen and Athletics Director Jeremy Foley. I promise to bring a tremendous amount of passion and energy to work every day and my goal is to have our team bring the same type of attitude in everything we do, both on and off the field. I want our team to play hard, with relentless effort and with toughness. We want to make The Gator Nation proud.”
Not only does Muschamp, a highly-respected coach among both his peers and his players, bring collegiate and NFL experience back to Gainesville, he also brings a wealth of big-game experience. He has coached in two national championship games, winning the ultimate prize in 2003 while defensive coordinator at LSU, and coached in a third BCS bowl game following the 2008 season, when Texas won the Fiesta Bowl. In addition to his national championship past, Muschamp has coached in the SEC Championship Game twice and in the Big 12 Championship Game once, coming out on the winning side in each of those three contests.
“We are thrilled to have Coach Muschamp lead our football program,” said Foley. “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 two children and we welcome them into our Gator family.”
With great excitement and enthusiasm, I, and the entire Gator Nation, welcome Coach Muschamp to the University of Florida," said President Bernie Machen. "We look forward to continued great success on and off the field under his proven leadership. This is a great day for all Gators."
In his five seasons as an SEC defensive coordinator, Muschamp’s defenses ranked among the nation’s top 10 in total defense every single year, while always maintaining a top-15 rating in scoring defense, including three times inside the top 10.
In four of his eight seasons overall as a Division I defensive coordinator, the high-energy coach’s team has allowed under 100 yards rushing per game and has twice led the nation in rushing defense while yielding less than 75 yards rushing per game. His 2003 LSU defense led the country by allowing 67 yards per game on the ground, the best mark by an SEC team in the 2000s, while Texas gave up just 73.1 yards on the ground in 2009 to pace the nation.
Over the past three seasons, the Texas defense ranks No. 1 in the nation with 119 sacks for 949 yards lost. His unit also rates in the top 10 nationally from 2008-10 in several other major categories, allowing 2.9 yards per rushing attempt (third), 96.7 rushing yards per game (fourth), 297.4 yards per game (seventh), all of which are Big 12 bests during that span. He also helped the Longhorns’ defense to top-20 rankings during his tenure at Texas, with 650 first downs allowed (18th) and a 114.3 pass efficiency defense (20th).
In 2009, the Texas Longhorns advanced to the BCS National Championship Game as Muschamp’s charges gave up a nation’s-low 73.1 rushing yards per game, the best figure by any BCS school over the past three seasons. The Longhorns also led the nation in third-down defense (26.5 percent), turnovers created (37, tied with Ohio University) and interceptions (25) as Texas claimed the Big 12 championship in 2009.
Under Muschamp’s guidance at Texas, Brian Orakpo claimed the 2008 Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman of the year), Bronko Nagurski Trophy (most outstanding defensive player) and Ted Hendricks Award (top defensive end), while the Longhorns’ defense saw Sergio Kindle become the first player in college football history to be named a finalist for both the Butkus Award (nation’s top linebacker) and the Hendricks Award. Earl Thomas also earned finalist honors for the Jim Thorpe Award in 2009.
In the 2009 and 2010 NFL Drafts, Muschamp had a combined eight players drafted, including seven in the first four rounds and two first-rounders in Orakpo and Thomas.
His 2003 LSU defense helped the Tigers to the national championship by leading the nation both in scoring defense (11.0 points per game) and total defense (252.0 yards per game), while finishing second nationally in pass efficiency defense (89.8) and third in rushing defense (67.0 yards per game). The Tigers allowed just 19 touchdowns all season in 2003, three less than the next closest competitor nationally.
Between his positions at LSU and Auburn, Muschamp spent a season with the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins in 2005 as Assistant Head Coach for Defense. He helped the Dolphins finish second in the league with 49 sacks, while leading Miami to top-10 finishes with 4.7 yards per play (seventh), 3.7 yards per rush (seventh) and 6.0 yards per pass (ninth).
The 1994 graduate of the University of Georgia moved immediately into coaching following his collegiate career, working as a graduate assistant at Auburn from 1995-96, earning his master’s degree in 1996. He became a secondary coach at West Georgia (1998) and Eastern Kentucky (1999) before moving on to his first defensive coordinator position at Valdosta State for the 2000 season, where he helped the Blazers to a 10-2 record and the Gulf South Conference championship with an 8-1 league mark.
In his playing career at Georgia, Muschamp earned his way from walk-on to scholarship player by the spring of his redshirt freshman season and eventually was named co-captain for his senior season. He also earned a spot on SEC Academic Honor Roll in 1993.
Muschamp and his wife, Carol, have two sons, Jackson and Whit.
THE WILL MUSCHAMP FILE
|Birthdate:||August 3, 1971|
|Education:||1994 – Bachelor’s degree (Georgia); 1996 – Master’s degree (Auburn)|
|Family:||Married to Carol Muschamp (formerly Davis). Has two sons: Jackson (9) and Whit (5)|
|1995-96||Auburn (Graduate Assistant)|
|1998||West Georgia (Secondary)|
|1999||Eastern Kentucky (Secondary)|
|2000||Valdosta State (Defensive Coordinator)|
|2002-04||LSU (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)|
|2005||Miami Dolphins (Assistant Head Coach for Defense)|
|2006-07||Auburn (Defensive Coordinator/Secondary)|
|2008-10||Texas (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)|
BOWL GAMES AS A COACH
|2010||BCS National Championship||Texas|
BOWL GAMES AS A PLAYER
- He is the second-youngest head coach in the SEC (Dan Mullen is 38).
- Had a 17-inch steel rod inserted in his leg after breaking his tibia and fibula as a junior on his high school baseball team
- Keeps the steel rod in a shadowbox in his office to remind players about overcoming adversity
- Visited Florida as a senior in high school in hopes of earning a chance to walk on to the football team
- Father, Larry, played football at North Carolina and later coached football in Rome, Ga.
- Oldest brother, Mike, played football at Duke and is now a high school coach in Atlanta, Ga.
- Older brother, Pat, was an offensive lineman at West Point
- Was on LSU staff with Jimbo Fisher and Derek Dooley under Nick Saban
- Was awarded a scholarship at Georgia in the spring of his redshirt season
- Was teammates with Alabama Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart at Georgia
- Also was on same staff with Smart at Valdosta State
- Graduated from Darlington High School in Georgia, lettering in football (four years), basketball (three years), track (four years) and baseball (four years).
Will Muschamp becomes one of 12 different current Gator head coaches who entered their first season at UF with five or fewer previous years as a collegiate head coach:
|Sport||Head Coach||Prior Experience||As a Gator Head Coach|
|Baseball||Kevin O’Sullivan||None||2007-08 was his first year; 2010 NCAA College World Series & SEC Champions|
|Men’s Basketball||Billy Donovan||2 years||2006 & 2007 NCAA Champions|
|Women’s Basketball||Amanda Butler||2 years||2007-08 was first year; postseason all three years, NCAA Tourney in ’09|
|Football||Will Muschamp||None||Hired on December, 11, 2010|
|Women’s Golf||Jan Dowling||None||2010 NCAA East Regional|
|Gymnastics||Rhonda Faehn||None||No. 1 ranking in 2007; third at 2007, fourth in ’08 & ’09, fifth at ’10 NCAAs|
|Soccer||Becky Burleigh||5 years||1998 NCAA Champions; 11 SEC titles|
|Softball||Tim Walton||3 years||2008, ’09, ’10 NCAA College World Series; Runner-Up in ’09|
|Swimming & Diving||Gregg Troy||None||2010 NCAA W-Swimming National Champions; 11 & 10 straight top-10 NCAA finishes for men & women|
|Women’s Tennis||Roland Thornqvist||5 years||2003 NCAA Champions, 2010 NCAA Runner-Up|
|Track & Field||Mike Holloway||None||2010 NCAA M-Indoor National Champions; ’10 NCAA M-Outdoor Runner-Up, W-Outdoor third, W-Indoor fourth; 2009 NCAA M-Indoor & Outdoor Runner-Up; 2004 & 2005 NCAA Men’s Indoor & Outdoor Runner-Up|
|Volleyball||Mary Wise||4 years||19 SEC Titles; 7 Final Fours|
Former Defensive Coordinators turned Head Coaches in the AP Top 25
|Gene Chizik, Auburn||Texas 2005-06 (co-defensive coordinator); Auburn 2002-04; UCF 1998-2001; Stephen F. Austin 1996-97|
|Chip Kelly, Oregon||Johns Hopkins 1993|
|Gary Patterson, TCU||TCU 1998-2000; New Mexico 1996-97; Sonoma (Calif.) State 1989-91; Cal Lutheran 1987|
|Brett Bielema, Wisconsin||Wisconsin 2004-05; Kansas State 2002-03 (co-defensive coordinator)|
|Mark Dantonio, Michigan State||Ohio State 2001-03; Youngstown State 1986-90; Butler (Kan.) Junior College 1982|
|Bob Stoops, Oklahoma||Florida 1996-98; Kansas State 1991-95 (co-defensive coordinator)|
|Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech||Murray State 1979-80; The Citadel 1977-78|
|Nick Saban, Alabama||Cleveland Browns (NFL) 1991-94; Michigan State 1983-87|
|Bo Pelini, Nebraska||LSU 2005-07; Oklahoma 2004 (co-defensive coordinator); Nebraska 2003|
|Kyle Whittingham, Utah||Utah 1995-2004; Idaho State 1992-93; College of Eastern Idaho 1987|
|Greg McMackin, Hawaii||Hawaii 2007, 1999; Texas Tech 2000-02; Seattle Seahawks (NFL) 1995-98; Miami (Fla.) 1993-94; Navy 1992; Utah 1990-91|
|Randy Edsall, Connecticut||Georgia Tech 1998|