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Billy Napier

Billy Napier looks on before the game at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Thursday, April 13, 2023. [Jesse Gann/Gainesville Sun]

Billy Napier is entering his second season as the head coach at Florida.

His first year in Gainesville ended in bowl eligibility and a 6-7 overall record. Last season marked Florida’s fifth consecutive season of qualifying for the postseason.

It was a solid first campaign for Napier, who landed the Florida job without any previous Power 5 experience. He succeeded Dan Mullen, who was in the position for just shy of 4 seasons. 

However, Napier’s mark of 6 wins is the worst total for a first-year Florida head coach since Charley Pell went 0-10-1 in 1979. Pell rebounded quickly and led the Gators to 4 straight bowl games, but was fired in 1982 due to a NCAA investigation. 

Perhaps Napier’s most notable accomplishment from his first season in charge was putting Anthony Richardson in position to succeed. Richardson had a great season and was picked No. 4 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. He was the first Florida QB to go in the top 5 of the NFL Draft since Steve Spurrier in 1967. 

Napier has also recruited well during his short time so far in Gainesville. Florida finished the 2023 cycle with the No. 14-ranked class nationally, per the 247Sports composite rankings. Florida is also set to bring in at least a dozen transfers, including former Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz. Looking ahead, Florida is entering the summer with a near-top 10 recruiting class for the 2024 cycle as well. 

Napier had a successful stint at Louisiana before making the jump to Florida. He was the Ragin’ Cajuns’ head coach for 4 seasons and helped lead the program to a 40-11 overall record. His tenure peaked with a 12-1 record in 2021 and back-to-back conference titles over his final 2 seasons at the helm.

Napier’s initial contract with Florida has been reported at 7 years, $52 million. That’s an average annual salary of more than $7 million, which puts him near the middle of the pack among SEC head coaches. He’s set to make $7.2 million for the 2023 season. 

Previously, Napier was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arizona State. He also spent time as an assistant at programs like Colorado State, Alabama, Clemson and South Carolina State. 

As a player, Napier was a quarterback at Furman from 1999-2002. Upon leaving Furman, he immediately began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Clemson. He left the Tigers for a year in 2005 to be the QB coach at South Carolina State, but returned in 2006 to serve on Tommy Bowden’s coaching staff. Napier’s time at Clemson overlapped with current Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney. Napier was Clemson’s offensive coordinator from 2009-10 — Swinney’s first 2 seasons at the helm. 

Napier, 43, is originally from Cookeville, Tennessee. His career accolades include 2 Sun Belt Championships and a pair of Sun Belt Coach of the Year honors. 

Billy Napier’s Coaching Experience

Head Coaching Record

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