Florida Gators Head Coach: Hugh Freeze Rumor and Other Questions


A rumor surfaced on the Internet that Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has been offered the position of Florida Gators head coach. The rumor was reported on Scout’s Florida Gator forum, which is only accessible to subscribers.

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Freeze is one of the favorites for the open Gator head coaching position. Like a lot of college coaches, Freeze runs a spread option offense, and will probably fit well with the system that the Gators are currently running. Freeze has proven he can recruit in Florida. The open Florida position is enough of a temptation that Ole Miss athletic director is trying to keep Freeze in Mississippi with a new contract.

Most likely, this is the work of Freeze’s agent Jimmy Sexton, who has a reputation for stirring the pot for his clients. But it poses the question: is Hugh Freeze who Gator Nation wants?

The Freeze rumor shows that there is no favorite for the Gator head coach and no selection will make all of Gator Nation happy. On Twitter, there was enthusiastic response:

And unenthusiastic response.

With the coaching search fully underway, Gator fans will have a lot of questions about the coaching search. Here are a few answers:

Who does the Internet say is up for the job?

Bob Stoops of Oklahoma, Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State, Dan Mullen of Mississippi State, Larry Fedora of UNC, Dabo Swinney of Clemson, Rich Rodriguez of Arizona, Jim McElwain of Colorado State, Chip Kelly of Notre Dame, Gus Malzahn of Auburn, Dana Holgorsen of West Virginia, Gary Patterson of Texas Christian and Art Bryles of Baylor. There’s talk of pro coaches too, including the Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly, New England Patriot offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan. Hail Florida Hail suggested some other candidates here.

Any of these potential candidates could get the job,or it could be someone I didn’t include. Also, some people want Tim Tebow to get the job, despite having no coaching experience whatsoever. We’ll call those people “sentimentalists” instead of, say, “crazy.”

Should I listen to the experts?

Probably not. Two guys who don’t cover the Gators said on TV that Mike Shanahan could be the next coach. How do they know? They don’t, they’re just throwing stuff against the wall. Fact is, everyone is. The best sources in this situation are the columnists and journalists who cover the Gators. Here’s veteran Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley crossing coach after coach off the list:

Dooley’s also said Rich Rodriguez and Chip Kelly are no-gos as well. Maybe he has some insight, since he does cover the team. Or maybe he’s just guessing. We’ll know if one of these names pops up for the coach. I believe Mike Gundy is a real possibility, don’t know why he would be crossed off of the list.

Athletic director Jeremy Foley’s jobs here is partly political. He has to balance a lot of factors: winning coach, able to talk to booster, able to recruit kids, able to do a press conference. While most coaches have these qualities, they have to fit in the system. Even a qualified candidate might have a bad answer in an interview. Foley isn’t going to elaborate with the press. They’re just speculating.

Can’t I just cut out the middleman and track Foley’s movements myself?

Yes, just follow the plane. The Gator’s athletic department has two planes and their movements can be tracked at this website. The plane’s numbers are N100FG and N101FG. The Gators are likely to use the plane in the coaching search, flying in potential coach candidates. So if you find a flight to Oklahoma or West Virginia or Colorado, you know what’s up.

How long will I have to wait?

Look for a hire in the first two weeks of December. The Gators will want a coach in place before signing day on Feb. 4 to help with recruiting. Last time, coaching hires for Urban Meyer and Will Muschamp were announced on Dec. 2 and Dec. 11.