Energy and Passion Drew Foley to Muschamp

The day that Urban Meyer told Jeremy Foley he was resigning, the athletic director was on vacation in Vermont. He did what anyone would do in that position, taking out a pen and paper to start jotting down names of potential replacements. He went to bed Saturday night missing one name on the list, and it was the name of Will Muschamp.

"Will wasn't on that list just because I didn't think about him," Foley shrugged, still searching for an answer.

Foley lay in bed the next morning considering his options. The head coach of his football team would soon be stepping down after winning two national championships in six seasons. He had all the big splash hires written down on the list, "all the ones that (the media) had all written about."

For some reason, Muschamp's name wasn't on the list. It might have been because he wasn't a head coach and didn't immediately jump into Foley's mind. Whatever it was, the reason was gone as Foley sat in bed the morning of December 5.

"I woke up the next morning and was lying in bed and I thought, 'Muschamp.' I put him on my list," Foley said. "We started researching those coaches, and he was quickly a guy we targeted."

Meyer's resignation was announced on Wednesday, and a press conference was scheduled that night to make it official. What also happened that night was the first step to making Muschamp the Florida head coach.

Foley called him Wednesday night just to gauge interest. The pitch wasn't complex or complicated. Foley just wanted to see if Muschamp would be interested in hearing what Florida had to say.

"Will, I know you've got a great job," Foley recalls saying in their initial conversation. "I know you're the next head coach at the University of Texas. I know the people in Texas, and I know the place you're working for. It's one of the premiere places in the country, if not the premier program in the country. If you're not interested in our job, I get that. I understand and I'll go on to the next guy."

Muschamp confirmed he was interested, but he also wanted Foley to know that he needed to speak with Texas head coach Mack Brown. Foley wasn't in a rush because he was in Tampa with Meyer for a media appearance at the Outback Bowl.

Muschamp and Brown spoke on Friday, and Foley also got a chance to speak with Brown.

On Saturday, Foley and a few other Florida representatives flew to Austin to spend the day with the Muschamp family.

Foley spoke last Wednesday night at Meyer's resignation press conference about the hiring process and characteristics that they wanted in the new coach. He wanted a coach who was familiar with the SEC, had competed on a big stage and a relentless recruiter that was familiar with Florida and the southeast.

His energy and passion for the job sent Muschamp a little higher on Foley's list, once he was actually added.

"Anybody who knows Will Muschamp knows he brings all those things to the table," Foley said.

The list of characteristics wasn't just something that Foley shared with the media. He shared it on the phone with Muschamp. Foley wanted to be open and honest to let the new head coach know what they were looking for.

"When he described that to me on the phone, it got me more and more excited," Muschamp said. "I felt like he was describing me. He was describing the perfect fit for Florida."

Foley now hopes that he found that perfect fit.

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