Foley gets angst of Muschamp recruiting vs UF

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley knew his name was in the headlines during the final weeks of recruiting when former Florida head coach Will Muschamp was convincing UF targets to follow him to Auburn.

The awkward situation for Florida is only impacted in a major way during the 2015 class, but it was an obstacle the new Florida staff dealt with. The staff was able to still sign multiple major targets and keep them instate instead of heading to Auburn, as five-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey and five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson decided to play for the Gators.

But there were still losses that probably wouldn’t have happened if Muschamp were coaching outside of the SEC.

Muschamp convinced five-star defensive end Byron Cowart to sign with Auburn, later adding four-star receiver Ryan Davis and four-star athlete Javarius Davis among others. While it happened, the Florida fan base was frustrated that Foley didn’t include some sort of mitigation to keep Muschamp out of the Southeastern Conference.

Speaking to the media for the first time since National Signing Day, Foley was quick to point out Monday that the issue should only hurt the 2015 class, and the new staff will have plenty of time to build relationships with recruits for the 2016 class.

“I get the angst that that causes,” Foley said. “But at the end of the day, we terminated Will. It's not like he moved on on his own. We terminated his contract. We said we needed to go in a different direction. He's free to work. He's free to go get a job. He's free to do his job. I imagine Auburn was recruiting some of those guys before he got up there. And Will's a good recruiter. So is Jim McElwain. Look what he did on signing day, look at what he did a couple of day prior to signing day.

“We’re all fine. I get, like I said, it’s good conversation. It’s angst, but we terminated Will’s contract. He’s free to go make a living like anybody else.”

Foley said they’re still working through McElwain’s contract and wouldn’t disclose what type of mitigation it would include if Florida terminates the contract.

“I’m not really hung up on that,” Foley said. “I know some people are. (If) Will didn’t work at all, we’re still paying him the same amount of money. That’s the world we live in. This is the big leagues. These coaches have a tough job, these coaches are in demand when you’re negotiating contracts with them. I’m not really worried about that. I also expected Will coach here a long, long time. I certainly expect Mac to be here a long, long time.”

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