Florida knew Lincoln Riley, Brian Kelly were available prior to Billy Napier hiring, per report
On Sunday, Billy Napier was announced as the new Florida head coach. It was 1 of many moves that have occurred during a wild coaching carousel that has featured both Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma to USC) and Brian Kelly (Notre Dame to LSU) making surprising moves.
After seeing both Riley and Kelly become open to leaving strong programs, some Florida fans may wonder if the school would have had a chance at landing either if it hadn’t hired Napier. As it turns out, the Gators may have had a chance to try to, but it seems they didn’t want to.
According to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger, Pat Forde and Richard Johnson, Gators officials were “alerted that Riley and Kelly were willing to move.” However, they were “already set on their No. 1 target” in Napier.
Will Florida eventually regret not trying to go after Riley or Kelly? Or will Napier prove to be the right man for the job? We may not know the answer for at least a few years, if not longer.
Napier had plenty of success at Louisiana, going 39-12 over 4 seasons with the Ragin’ Cajuns. While he may not have been as splashy of a hire as Riley or Kelly, Napier has proven that he’s deserving of an opportunity at a Power 5 program.
Now, Napier will look to lead the Gators back to success in the near future.