Gator Nation Needs A New Leader

Chris Surrency

There are many things that go into making a football team successful, one of the more important parts of the Championship Stew is making sure you have the right coach for the job. In the NFL there have been times where a mediocre coach was able to guide a team to the top based solely on the talent he acquired. College is a bit more tricky, sure you can build a monster in the perfect scenario, but that Doesn’t always translate across the board. Some coaches are amazing at managing the talent they can pull together in a small school, but seem to falter when they are put into place to guide a much larger school. It’s even tougher most times when you consider that coach is going from a lower to mid tier school and being set as the head ball coach at not just a “power 5 conference” school, but a school that already has a pretty substantial legacy to uphold. Sometimes you need to bypass the idea of getting the “hot hand” as your coach and you need to look more for someone with a history and name recognition. In college you have to recruit, and honestly at the end of the day you’re not going to get the flavor of the month to win someone over when Nick Saban can just walk in a room and instantly get that recruit signed up for Alabama in one visit.

Over the last couple weeks the Florida Gators have let go of their latest coach since they’ve been absolutely abysmal this season. As a result people are immediately throwing out names they think would be a good option to fill the vacancy, one name thrown about has been Scott Frost. While Frost has been pretty impressive at UCF, he wouldn’t be my choice for the lead man in Florida. It’s hard enough to move over to a major conference, even harder when it’s the SEC, and harder still when it’s one of the top teams perennially in the SEC like the University of Florida. This isn’t the place you go to “cut your teeth” on the recruiting trail for a big school. Sure there’s a chance Frost will succeed in time if given the job with Florida, but this is a team where you aren’t likely to be given a ton of time to sort things out. Even in a down year, against a bottom level team, you’ll get around 100k fans for a Florida Gators game, and love them or hate them their fans are incredibly loyal to their team. I think Frost should stick with UCF a couple more years, increase his value even more, then maybe he’ll be ready for one of the bigger programs in the nation.

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There are also names being mentioned as options to fill the head coach vacancy in Gainesville, one popular option seems to Les Miles. The former LSU coach is a big enough name to get over with fans, and while he may not be on a level to knock Saban off his perch yet, if he has one or two successful seasons with the Gators he’ll be right back in contention for any player in the nation. Miles had a pretty solid run at LSU with 3 SEC West championships, 2 overall SEC championships, and a National Championship in 2007, keeping the Tigers as one of the higher ranked teams nationally during his run as their head coach. He’s a proven winner in the SEC, so that would definitely sway prospects who may be considering other schools in the conference. Miles would be a hell of a signing for Florida as a replacement for Jim McElwain, but he may not be the crown jewel in the “available coaches” category. There’s one guy out there who is currently retired from the coaching scene that could make a huge impact if hired, and he may be able to compete with the likes of Nick Saban immediately.

There was a bit of a shocking news story in the world of college football over the summer when long time Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops announced his retirement. Stoops had a long, incredibly impressive run with the Sooners. Over his 17 years in Oklahoma he amassed 10 Conference titles and a National Championship. His record over that span was an astounding 190-48, to say that Stoops will go down as one of the greatest coaches of all time is quite possibly an understatement. Bringing him to Gainesville, well back to Gainesville, would seemingly be a win for both sides. It allows Stoops to increase his already legendary profile among college coaches, and it allows Florida to land a name big enough to walk into any living room in the nation and walk out with a commitment from that prospect. When you’re looking to make a splash and return to past glory, sometimes you have to break the bank. Stoops was the assistant head coach, essentially seen as a next in line role, as well as the defensive coordinator under Steve Spurrier, so he’s already going to be seen as Gator Royalty by many fans. Once again, winning over the fans in Florida is nearly as important as winning over recruits, so that’s another huge win for Florida with Stoops at the helm.

Now take it for what you will here, I’m not a Gators fan, not even a little bit. I’m a diehard Florida State fan and as a result I tend to hate the Gators. That said, I respect the legacy that comes with the school. They’ve earned the right to aim high on the coaching totem. There are certain teams that just have that clout, there’s a reason you don’t see unproven people coaching at Notre Dame, even in a down era it’s still Notre Dame. You have to respect the legacy set forth by teams of the past, just because they may not be running things at the moment you know it’s just a matter of time before they’re back. Of all the options mentioned in this search, Bob Stoops is without a doubt the best fit and most logical option. Granted, he may truly be dedicated to his retirement but Florida at least has to reach out and see what it would take to bring aboard. Even if it were just for a few years while they had someone else “in waiting” behind him ready to step in when he ended his latest run. I’ve been more than willing to offer Jimbo Fisher up as the new man in Gainesville. Sure, that may come from that whole hating the Gators thing, but dammit we need him out of Tallahassee and making Florida easier every year just seems a win/win in my eyes.

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Chris Surrency

Chris Surrency is an aspiring author and article writer with opinions on many different topics. He fell in love with writing as a child in elementary school and has taken any occasion possible to let the words that roll around in his head come out whether it be in a notebook or on a computer. Chris got his first opportunity to write online at, a subsidiary site for Wrestling News World, posting opinion pieces. He later joined the Yahoo Contributor's Network, covering many topics from science to video games and back to sports, and almost all points in between, he posted well over one hundred articles up until the moment Yahoo dismantled the network. Since that time he's provided content to different sites online, written his first novel, and eventually made his way to MCXV where he's finally capturing the enjoyment he once found while writing at Yahoo once again.