It appears Florida has three candidates for the Gators open heading coaching position.
A number of rumors have floated around since Jim McElwain’s departure from the program, but everything to this point has been speculation. Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, UCF’s Scott Frost, and Oregon’s Willie Taggart were some of the first names mentioned.
Each of those coaches were purely speculation, but a recent report directly links the Gators to three candidates. It was also reported that these three names are the top choices for Florida in the search.
Marc Ryan shared the names on Twitter Thursday:
From a very reliable source. UF has reached out to representatives of Bob Stoops, Chip Kelly, and Charlie Strong to gauge interest in becoming the #Gators next head coach. These are believed to be UF's top choices.
— Marc Ryan (@MarcRyanOnAir) November 9, 2017
Bob Stoops has the most successful track record of the three coaches mentioned. He compiled a record of 190-48 with 10 conference championships and a National Championship during his time with Oklahoma.
Stoops took over as head coach for the Sooners in 1999 after serving as Florida’s defensive coordinator from 1996-98 under Steve Spurrier. It will be interesting to see if Stoops may return to coaching after stepping down at Oklahoma in June of this year.
In terms of turning around Florida’s woeful offense, Chip Kelly would be an interesting choice. Kelly is best known for his electric offense during his time with the Oregon Ducks. He led the Ducks to 46 wins, three Pac-10/Pac-12 championships, and a trip to the BCS National Championship Game in four season.
Charlie Strong, much like Stoops, has ties with Florida as defensive coordinator. Strong coached with the Gators from 2003-2009 in a number of different roles. He served as Urban Meyer’s DC from 2008-09 before beginning his head coaching career with Louisville.
Strong has since returned to the state of Florida with USF after stints at Louisville and Texas. He has the Bulls off to an 8-1 start this season.