Florida Gators get their man, Louisiana’s Billy Napier

Billy Napier, Louisiana Rajun’ Cajuns head football coach at the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Media Day. By Bobak Ha & Eri – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

November 28, 2021

Napier will become the 28th head coach in Florida Football history

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Gators have selected Billy Napier as the 28th head coach in program history, University of Florida Athletics Director Scott Stricklin announced Sunday.  
Napier, who spent the last four seasons as Louisiana’s head coach (2018-21), will lead the Ragin’ Cajuns in this year’s Sun Belt Conference Championship Game when they face App State Saturday, Dec. 4.  

He will arrive in Gainesville Sunday, Dec. 5, and a press conference will be held that same day on campus.

Napier, whose coaching experience includes stops at Alabama, Clemson, Arizona State, Colorado State and South Carolina State, compiled an overall 39-12 record with the Ragin’ Cajuns. The 42-year-old led Louisiana to four Sun Belt Conference West Division tiles and one conference championship during his time at UL Lafayette.
Napier, who was named the Louisiana Sports Writer Association Coach of the Year in 2020 and the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in 2019, took the Ragin’ Cajuns to unprecedented heights when the team broke into the national rankings last year for the first time in the modern era. The team finished the 2020 campaign ranked No. 15 in the AP Top 25, No. 16 in the USA Today/Amway Coaches Poll and No. 19 in the College Football Playoff, Louisiana’s highest rankings in all three polls.
Louisiana owns a 27-7 record against Sun Belt opposition under Napier, including a perfect 16-0
mark against members of the conference’s West Division.
Regarded as one of the most talented recruiters in college football, Napier played an instrumental role in the 2011 and 2015 National Championships at Alabama, where he served as wide receivers coach (2013-17) and offensive analyst (2011) under Head Coach Nick Saban.
During his time in Tuscaloosa, Napier coached 2014 Biletnikoff Award winner Amari Cooper, who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
In 70 games with Alabama, Napier helped the Tide to a combined 63-7 record in five seasons, including the 26 consecutive wins from 2015-2016. Alabama’s offense averaged 6.27 yards per play and 36.4 points per game during that stretch.
Prior to Alabama, Napier spent seven seasons at Clemson where he first began his career as a graduate assistant (2003-04) and later served as tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator (2006-08) and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (2009-10).
During his three seasons as the Tiger’s recruiting coordinator, Napier compiled two top-25 recruiting classes, and in 2008, his class was tabbed as the second-best in the nation by ESPN.com.
In 2009, Napier’s first season as Clemson’s offensive coordinator, the Tigers scored a school-record 436 points and collected 54 touchdowns, the third-most in school history. Napier’s offense led the way that year, helping Clemson finish as the ACC Atlantic Division champions.
Napier also served as offensive coordinator at Arizona State (2017) and assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach at Colorado State (2012).
Napier is a graduate of Furman University, where he was a four-year letterman and a two-time All-Southern Conference selection as the school’s starting quarterback.

“I’ve followed and studied Billy Napier’s career with interest, and he became the primary target immediately after this position came open,” Stricklin said. “We felt confident he would be an excellent leader for the Gators, which is why he was the only candidate I met with about the job.


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