Florida Contacts Spurrier

Florida contacts Spurrier (ESPN)

University of Florida officials have contacted Steve Spurrier to gauge his interest in returning to coach the school’s football team, a source told ESPN college football analyst Jim Donnan on Tuesday. School officials want to know within the next few days whether Spurrier is interested in returning to Gainesville to replace the fired Ron Zook, the source said. On Tuesday night, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley denied a report from earlier in the day that a 24-hour deadline had been imposed for Spurrier’s response. “There’s absolutely no basis to that at all,” Foley said. “We’ve got a little time. Why would 24 hours make a difference?” “Our timetable has been communicated to Steve, and he’s fine with it,” he added. Foley also said that he has not been in contact with Spurrier.


Zook, who will finish out the season, was fired Monday after two-plus years, satisfying a growing groundswell for his ouster that began the day he replaced Spurrier. The Gators are 20-13 under Zook with four games left — that’s just 14 losses fewer than Spurrier had in 12 seasons. If Spurrier would return, the former Washington Redskins coach would be interested in having Oklahoma co-defensive coordinator Bo Pellini on his staff, the source told Donnan. “We will discuss this job with a number of coaches, and obviously if Coach Spurrier is interested, we will sit down with him,” Foley said Monday.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, Utah coach Urban Meyer and Louisville coach Bobby Petrino also could be possible replacements. Foley said he would not talk to any coaches with current jobs until after the season. “I’m not here to talk about other jobs, and I’m not going to,” Stoops said Tuesday. “There’s nothing to talk about. I’m the head coach at Oklahoma, and that’s enough said. I’ve got a great job.” Spurrier’s defensive coordinator for three seasons at Florida, Stoops said he and Spurrier had talked recently enough to know he shot a 73 during his charity round.

Given that the Florida job was his for the asking when Spurrier left three years ago, I can’t imagine Stoops would be interested now. Spurrier and Florida would seem the obvious match-up.
The only job I could see that would even been of comparable interest would be the Miami Dolphins, which will almost certainly fire Dave Wannstedt at season’s end (if not before). Still, Spurrier’s rude awakening about the differences between the college game and the NFL should preclude him from going down that road again.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. dw says:

    Actually, there’s some knowledge out there that Stoops could be lured out of Norman by the right amount of money. He’s making a lot at OU, but Florida’s boosters have deeper pockets. Oklahoma’s economy just isn’t producing the money men they had in the Switzer and Wilkinson days.

    Stoops didn’t leave OU in 2001 for two reasons: following Spurrier would have been an albatross around the neck, and Boren was able to get cash out of the Tulsa and Dallas boosters. In 2004, things are far different — the expectations are lower, and the money to give Stoops an extension isn’t there, even with the upper deck and the Gaylord named plastered on Memorial Stadium. So, I wouldn’t rule it out.

    Spurrier going back to Florida may not be such a great idea. When coaches return to their old teams, the result isn’t always a return to winning.

    If Florida is following the Oklahoma and Nebraska paths to collapse and rebuild, the next coach will come from outside the current regime (see Schnellenberger and Callahan). So… Tubberville’s value has never been higher. Maybe they make a trip up to the Plains? Or perhaps Petrino from Louisville?