Muschamp is Looking to Hire a Great Staff

For any fans who worry about Will Muschamp's lack of head coaching experience, he doesn't blame you. Muschamp knows there are questions about it, and he has already heard some of them. What he asks is simple. He told the players in yesterday's meeting that he wants blind faith from them to hire the best staff possible, and blind faith is exactly what he wants from Florida fans.

"I know that there will be criticism about maybe not hiring a guy with head coaching experience, and I certainly understand that," Muschamp said. "I do think if you look at it, you can look at examples across the board of guys that had no head coaching experience and did an outstanding job because they were the right fit.

"You can look at a lot of head coaches who had head coaching experience and went to a situation like Florida, then didn't have the success like you thought they might have."

It's easy to question hiring someone without head coach experience, and Muschamp knows that.

However, Jeremy Foley's track record is full of success when hiring head coaches who only have experience as assistants.

Besides the obvious flop of Ron Zook, Foley has found fits with baseball coach Kevin O'Sullivan, who was a career assistant at Clemson, and gymnastics coach Rhonda Faehn, who was an assistant at Nebraska. Basketball coach Billy Donovan spent only two years as the head coach at Marshall before Foley hired him.

"I don't think it's a gamble," Foley said. "I think that the guy reminds me a lot of Billy (Donovan), he reminds me a lot of Sully, and he reminds he a lot of Urban. Time will tell. At the end of the day, he's got to win football games. I'm real confident in his makeup and ability to attract a good staff."

Foley was sold on Muschamp after their extended phone conversations Friday, but his trip to the Muschamp household in Austin on Saturday finalized the deal.

Where some see risk and uncertainty, Foley sees opportunity. He decided Muschamp was the coach that was best for Florida, and there was only one way to get him—hire him as an assistant coach. Once Muschamp was bumped up to the head coach at Texas, the chances of him leaving would decrease, likely to zero.

"One of the premiere programs in America had already entrusted the job to him a couple years from now," Foley said. "If he stayed at Texas and became the head coach years from now, no one is writing that Texas just hired a guy who had never been a head coach before. Everybody was expecting him to be the head coach at Texas."

Even Muschamp knows there is no way to be certain. However, being around successful head coaches like Mack Brown and Nick Saban has prepared him. He spent the last three seasons in the Big 12, where Bob Stoops and his good friend Bo Pelini have carved out successful coaching careers after being hired with only experience as assistant coaches.

The point Muschamp has learned comes in hiring a good coaching staff. That's the reason he will take his time and doesn't plan to hire any coaches until after Florida's Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.

"You've got to surround yourself with a great staff," Muschamp said. "(There is) a great talent level, and I'm walking into a great situation. That's number one. Number two is hiring a great staff around you and letting them coach."

There is always curiosity about whether anyone is ready for their first head-coaching job, and Muschamp is willing to admit he doesn't know. He's heard from Brown and Urban Meyer that even when they thought they were ready to take over a major program, it still took an adjustment period.

"Mack Brown told me when he first went to Texas he was ready to be the head coach at Texas. He had been the head coach for I think close to 20 years -- no, maybe not 20 years, but he was close. He said, "I was nowhere near ready for this." Urban Meyer has talked to me about being ready to be the head coach of the University of Florida. He said he had been a head coach for a long time and said, "I wasn't really ready for his."

"So I don't know that anybody is ready for a place like Florida or Texas, but you certainly understand what you're getting into. You understand the circumstances you're with, and you're excited about the opportunities. I'm going to embrace this opportunity. I'm excited about it. I understand what's at stake here, and I'm real pleased about this opportunity."

The opportunity doesn't come without expectations. Muschamp knows the unrest that came with a five-loss season in Gainesville this season, and he's coming off a seven-loss season at Texas. It was a frustration year for him and for his new team, and with a brutal 2011 schedule for the Gators, he knows it won't get any easier.

That doesn't slow down the process of getting the team to championship level.

"I know that the Gator Nation is going to have high expectations, and I am, too," Muschamp said. "I expect to win. We're not on a five-year plan here."

For as long as he's been a defensive coordinator, Muschamp has had a reputation as a fiery coach. He's prone to sprinting on the field for a chest bump after his defense gets a third-down stop. The enthusiasm he shows in all areas of his life defines him as a person and a coach. Now that he's the head coach of a major college program, he won't change a thing.

"I'm going to be me," Muschamp said. "I think the worst thing you can do in a leadership position is try and be something you're not. I'm going to be me-- I'm going to be Will Muschamp. I'm going to be involved with the players, and I think the players are a reflection of their coach. I hope they feed off the intensity that we try to bring to the game."

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