Foley at Jacksonville Beach Gator Club Report

Thanks to the Jacksonville Beach Gator Club and their president, Chris Brock, UFInsider is able to bring you this first hand coverage of UF Athletic Director Jeremy Foley's first Gator club meeting since the debacle vs. LSU last Saturday. Foley comments on a lot of aspects of the Gator athletic program, including how long Ron Zook has the opportunity of being head coach, the status of the football team, and he clears up the rumors going around about Bob Stoops wanting to take the UF job.

In his first booster meeting since last Saturday's debacle against LSU, Athletic Director Jeremy Foley spoke to a group of close to two hundred uneasy Gator fans. He spoke and answered every question asked of him for over 45 minutes. As Mr. Foley said to the "media boys" in the audience, "Make sure you let everyone know I didn't back down from ANY questions!". Foley was in good spirits and joked a lot with the crowd. He said that he knows there were rumors that Spurrier left because of him. Foley said this was not true and that he and Spurrier are still friends and still talk regularly. Spurrier called Foley after the Redskins first road game and told Foley that he was so used to Foley being the first person he sees after road games that he was looking around for him.

Initially the beginning of his speech was about the "good things" happening at UF: the Volleyball team is ranked 3rd in the nation and has a legitimate
shot at Mary Wise's first National Championship, the new tennis and track coaches are excited about their seasons, the indoor and outdoor tracks have been updated/renovated, the stadium renovations are coming along nice and all the seats are sold out, 11 consecutive SEC All-Sports trophies, Billy Donovan is looking forward to a big year, etc...

The speech then turned toward Ron Zook and the football program. Foley was in good spirits about what is going on, "Obviously, I'd rather be standing here at 7-0...but, we're 4-3 and it is what it is....". He made this statement several times, " is what it is....".  He continued and
stated that he is not worried about the program. His job as Athletic Director is to evaluate each it is Ron Zook's job to evaluate
the football program.

Foley stated that he understands that UF football is the fan's passion. He understands that the fans are not happy about what has happened the last two weeks......but, right now, " is what it is...". He said that although he knows UF football is the fans's his livelihood!

Foley then answered several questions from the crowd. Many in the crowd asked questions as if Foley was the Head Football Coach. Foley reminded them that, "I'm not a coach....". Several questions were asked about the state of UF's other athletic programs. THEN there were several football related questions:

"There was a rumor that Bob Stoops accepted the job then declined it." Foley stated that this was not true. Stoops never took the job. He told Stoops, "Let me know by tomorrow if you want the job at the University of Florida". Stoops called him the next day and turned it down.

Foley was asked, "Is 8-3 acceptable for our program?". Foley stated, "No! 8-3 is not acceptable....we expect to compete for championships every year. 8-3 is not acceptable for our program...".

"How long will Zook have?". First Foley joked and said, "SUNDAY! If he doesn't beat Auburn!!" Foley then stated that Zook will be given a chance to recruit and build a program....pretty vanilla, but firm (as if Zook doesn't produce in a certain time period there will be a change....but, he did not go into a time period).

"Do you think this start will hurt our recruiting?" - Foley answered that one of the reasons Zook was brought in was that he was a great recruiter. He didn't think it will hurt.

Foley reaffirmed that when Spurrier resigned that he had a list of three coaches. He explained his relationship with all three. Both Stoops and
Shanahan felt that they owed their current bosses and didn't feel right leaving.

All in all it was a very good meeting. Foley, obviously, isn't going to tell a booster group if he has plans to run off the coach! But, he did answer
every question asked of him. Foley sang, "We are the Boys" and spoke with members after the meeting.

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