- Will Muschamp
Athletic director Jeremy Foley hired Gainesville native Will Muschamp as the University of Florida’s 23rd head football coach in December 11, 2010. Familiar with the Southeastern Conference, Muschamp had a reputation as a relentless recruiter who was familiar with the state of Florida and the SEC and someone with energy and passion.
Muschamp came to UF after being the coach-in-waiting and defensive coordinator at the University of Texas since November 2008. He brought 16 years of coaching experience with him, including 12 years in the SEC, eight as a coach and four as a player at the University of Georgia. Muschamp also served as defensive coordinator at Auburn University (2006-07) and LSU (2002-04; he was LSU’s linebackers coach in 2001) and was a finalist for the 2007 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach. The son of a football coach, he turned down appointments at West Point and Annapolis to become a four-year letterman as a safety at the University of Georgia from 1991-94, where he was voted defensive co-captain as a senior.
After a 7-6 record in his first season at Florida, Muschamp led the Gators to one of the nation’s top turnarounds in year two, finishing 11-2 and playing in a BCS bowl game. Florida improved from a 6-6 regular season in 2011 to an 11-1 regular season in 2012, which marked the biggest one-year leap for the program in 32 years (0-10-1 in 1979, 7-4 regular season in 1980). Muschamp became the only head coach at a BCS-conference school to win 11 regular-season games in their second season after finishing .500 or below the previous regular season in records dating back to 1996.
In addition, the Gators finished 7-1 in the SEC East, tying for the division crown, a year after posting a 3-5 record in the conference. Florida defeated three top-10 opponents for just the second time in school history. Muschamp was named the SEC Coach of the Year by CBSSports.com, and was also voted as the SEC Coach of the Year by his peers around the league.
After not being ranked in the final polls in each of the previous two seasons, the Gators finished No. 3 in the final regular-season BCS standings, the third highest finish in school history, and ranked in the top 10 in both the final Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches’ Poll. UF won 11 games for just the sixth time in school history, won four of five games against the final BCS top-12 teams and defeated seven bowl-eligible teams in what ranked as the toughest schedule in the nation according to the NCAA.
The formula for the Gators success was to take care of the football, control both lines of scrimmage, finish games, have outstanding special teams and a physical defense. The Florida defense was among the nation’s best in 2012, ranking fifth nationally in scoring defense (14.5 points per game) and total defense (287.5 yards per game). UF’s rush defense improved dramatically from year one, limiting opponents to just 94.9 rushing yards per game after allowing 132.7 yards per game in 2011. The secondary also shut down the opposition, ranking as the nation’s No. 2 pass efficiency defense (95.55) and allowing just seven touchdown passes, the second-fewest in the nation.
A year after being outscored 86-59 in the fourth quarter, UF posted a 128-32 edge in the final quarter in 2012. That led to a 5-1 record in games decided by one score or less and matching a school-record eight come-from-behind wins. UF improved from -12 in turnover margin to +15 and ranked seventh nationally.
Florida returned to a bowl game in 2014, ranking among the SEC and national leaders in several defensive and special-teams categories. Highlights of Muschamp’s final season with the Gators included a 38-20 win over conference rival and eighth-ranked Georgia in which UF rushed for 418 yards and gave its head coach his first win in the Florida-Georgia rivalry as a player or coach.
At the close of the 2014 regular season, Muschamp had the Gators ranked among the SEC leaders in rushing defense (second, 116.8 yards per game), pass defense (fourth, 194.2 ypg), total defense (second, 311.0 ypg), punt returns (second, 13.0 average) and field-goal percentage (third, .792).
Individually, linebacker Antonio Morrison broke out during the 2014 campaign, averaging 8.9 tackles per game to rank fifth in the SEC. Demarcus Robinson stood among the league’s best in receptions (eighth, 4.3 per game) and receiving yards (fifth, 70.4 per game), while special-teams ace Andre Debose stood second in punt returns (14.0 yard average) and fourth in kick returns (24.7 yard average). Punter Kyle Christy flipped the field for Florida with his 44.4-yard average that was good for fourth in the conference, while Frankie Velez led the conference in field-goal percentage with just two misses in 14 attempts.
Muschamp’s first season in Gainesville produced the school’s 24th-consecutive winning season and its 32nd-consecutive season of .500 football or better, the longest streaks in the nation. With the victory over Ohio State in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, UF established a school record with its fourth-straight bowl win. Muschamp’s first squad will go down as one of the youngest in school history: 15 true freshmen and 52 underclassmen saw action – the second most in school history.
Despite returning 37 combined starts on the defensive side of the ball, the fewest in the SEC, Muschamp’s defense ranked second in the nation in third down conversion defense (.273) – the best national ranking in school history. Florida allowed just 166.8 yards per game passing to rank seventh nationally and permitted just 299.5 yards per game to rank eighth nationally.
UF finished 2011 with 72 scholarship players, including four walk-ons who were awarded scholarships in August prior to start of the season. The Gators opened fall camp with just nine scholarship seniors.
In his five seasons as an SEC defensive coordinator, Muschamp’s defenses ranked among the nation’s top 10 in total defense every single year, while always maintaining a top-15 rating in scoring defense, including three times inside the top 10.
In four of his eight seasons overall as a Division I defensive coordinator, the high-energy coach’s team has allowed less than 100 rushing yards per game and has twice led the nation in rushing defense while yielding less than 75 rushing yards per game. His 2003 LSU defense led the country by allowing 67 yards per game on the ground, the best mark by an SEC team in the 2000s, while Texas gave up just 73.1 yards on the ground in 2009 to pace the nation.
From 2008-10 under Muschamp’s guidance, the Texas defense ranked No. 1 in the nation with 119 sacks for 949 yards lost. His unit also ranked in the top-10 nationally during the same time frame in several other major categories, allowing 2.9 yards per rushing attempt (third), 96.7 rushing yards per game (fourth), 297.4 yards per game (seventh), all of which are Big 12 bests during that span. He also helped the Longhorns’ defense to top-20 rankings during his tenure at Texas, with 650 first downs allowed (18th) and a 114.3 pass efficiency defense (20th).
In 2009, the Texas Longhorns advanced to the BCS National Championship Game as Muschamp’s charges gave up just 73.1 rushing yards per game, the best figure by any BCS school from 2008-10. The Longhorns also led the nation in 2009 in third-down defense (26.5 percent), turnovers created (37, tied with Ohio University) and interceptions (25) as Texas claimed the Big 12 championship in 2009.
Under Muschamp’s tutelage at Texas, Brian Orakpo claimed the 2008 Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman of the year), Bronko Nagurski Trophy (most outstanding defensive player) and Ted Hendricks Award (top defensive end), while the Longhorns’ defense saw Sergio Kindle become the first player in college football history to be named a finalist for both the Butkus Award (nation’s top linebacker) and the Hendricks Award. Earl Thomas also earned finalist honors for the Jim Thorpe Award in 2009.
In the 2009 and 2010 NFL Drafts, Muschamp had a combined eight players drafted, including seven in the first four rounds and two first-rounders in Orakpo and Thomas.
In a two-year stint as the defensive coordinator at Auburn from 2006-07, Muschamp’s defense ranked third in the nation in scoring defense (15.4 points per game) and fourth in the nation pass defense (170.7 pass yards per game). During the same time frame, Auburn ranked third in the SEC in total defense by holding opponents to 295.1 yards per game.
Muschamp’s first full-time coaching experience in the SEC came at LSU as the linebackers coach for one season before being elevated to defensive coordinator from 2002-04. His 2003 defense helped the Tigers to the national championship by leading the nation both in scoring defense (11.0 points per game) and total defense (252.0 yards per game), while finishing second nationally in pass efficiency defense (89.8) and third in rushing defense (67.0 yards per game). The Tigers allowed just 19 touchdowns all season in 2003, three less than the next closest competitor nationally.
Between his positions at LSU and Auburn, Muschamp spent a season with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2005 as Assistant Head Coach for Defense. He helped the Dolphins finish second in the league with 49 sacks, while leading Miami to top-10 finishes with 4.7 yards per play (seventh), 3.7 yards per rush (seventh) and 6.0 yards per pass (ninth).
The 1994 graduate of the University of Georgia moved immediately into coaching following his collegiate playing career, working as a graduate assistant at Auburn from 1995-96, earning his master’s degree in 1996. He became a secondary coach at West Georgia (1998) and Eastern Kentucky (1999) before moving on to his first defensive coordinator position at Valdosta State for the 2000 season, where he helped the Blazers to a 10-2 record and the Gulf South Conference championship with an 8-1 league mark.
In his playing career at Georgia, Muschamp earned his way from walk-on to scholarship player by the spring of his redshirt freshman season and eventually was named co-captain for his senior season. He also earned a spot on the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 1993.
|2005||Miami Dolphins||Assistant Coach for Defense|
|2000||Valdosta State||Defensive Coordinator|
NFL Players drafted under Muschamp
|Dominique Easley, Florida, DT||1st Round of 2014 NFL Draft (New England)|
|Jaylen Watkins, Florida, CB||4th Round of 2014 NFL Draft (Philadelphia)|
|Ronald Powell, Florida, LB||5th Round of 2014 NFL Draft (New Orleans)|
|Jon Halapio, Florida, OL||6th Round of 2014 NFL Draft (New England)|
|Sharrif Floyd, Florida, DT||1st Round of 2013 NFL Draft (Minnesota)|
|Matt Elam, Florida, S||1st Round of 2013 NFL Draft (Baltimore)|
|Jon Bostic, Florida, LB||2nd Round of 2013 NFL Draft (Chicago)|
|Jordan Reed, Florida, TE||3rd Round of 2013 NFL Draft (Washington)|
|Jelani Jenkins, Florida, LB||4th Round of 2013 NFL Draft (Miami)|
|Mike Gillislee, Florida, RB||5th Round of 2013 NFL Draft (Miami)|
|Caleb Sturgis, Florida, K||5th Round of 2013 NFL Draft (Miami)|
|Josh Evans, Florida, S||6th Round of 2013 NFL Draft (Jacksonville)|
|Kenny Vaccaro, Texas, S||1st Round of 2013 NFL Draft (New Orleans)|
|Alex Okafor, Texas, DE||4th Round of 2013 NFL Draft (Arizona)|
|Jaye Howard, Florida, DT||4th Round of 2012 NFL Draft (Seattle)|
|Chris Rainey, RB||5th Round of 2012 NFL Draft (Pittsburgh)|
|Keenan Robinson, Texas, LB||4th Round of 2012 NFL Draft (Washington)|
|Emmanuel Acho, Texas, LB||6th Round of 2012 NFL Draft (Cleveland)|
|Kheeston Randall, Texas, DT||7th Round of 2012 NFL Draft (Miami)|
|Aaron Williams, Texas, DB||2nd Round of 2011 NFL Draft (Buffalo)|
|Curtis Brown, Texas, DB||3rd Round of 2011 NFL Draft (Pittsburgh)|
|Chykie Brown, Texas, DB||5th Round of 2011 NFL Draft (Baltimore)|
|Earl Thomas, Texas, DB||1st Round of 2010 NFL Draft (Seattle)|
|Sergio Kindle, Texas, LB||2nd Round of 2010 NFL Draft (Baltimore)|
|Lamarr Houston, Texas, DE||2nd Round of 2010 NFL Draft (Oakland)|
|Roddrick Muckelroy, Texas, LB||4th Round of 2010 NFL Draft (Cincinnati)|
|Walter McFadden, Auburn, DB||5th Round of 2010 NFL Draft (Oakland)|
|Brian Orakpo, Texas, DE||1st Round of 2009 NFL Draft (Washington)|
|Sen’Derrick Marks, Auburn, DT||2nd Round of 2009 NFL Draft (Tennessee)|
|Jerraud Powers, Auburn, DB||3rd Round of 2009 NFL Draft (Indianapolis)|
|Roy Miller, Texas, DT||3rd Round of 2009 NFL Draft (Tampa Bay)|
|Henry Melton, Texas, DE||4th Round of 2009 NFL Draft (Chicago)|
|Glenn Dorsey, LSU, DT||1st Round of 2008 NFL Draft (Kansas City)|
|Quinten Groves, Auburn, DE||2nd Round of 2008 NFL Draft (Jacksonville)|
|Pat Lee, Auburn, CB||2nd Round of 2008 NFL Draft (Green Bay)|
|Chevis Jackson, LSU, CB||3rd Round of 2008 NFL Draft (Atlanta)|
|Kevin Steltz, LSU, S||4th Round of 2008 NFL Draft (Chicago)|
|Pat Sims, Auburn, DT||3rd Round of 2008 NFL Draft (Cincinnati)|
|Jonathan Wihite, Auburn, CB||4th Round of 2008 NFL Draft (New England)|
|LaRon Landry, LSU, FS||1st Round of 2007 NFL Draft (Washington)|
|Will Herring, Auburn, LB||5th Round of 2007 NFL Draft (Seattle)|
|David Irons, Auburn, CB||6th Round of 2007 NFL Draft (Atlanta)|
|Claude Wroten, LSU, DT||3rd Round of 2006 NFL Draft (St. Louis)|
|Kyle Williams, LSU, DT||5th Round of 2006 NFL Draft (Buffalo)|
|Melvin Oliver, LSU, DE||6th Round of 2006 NFL Draft (San Francisco)|
|Marcus Spears, LSU, DE||1st Round of 2005 NFL Draft (Dallas)|
|Corey Webster, LSU, CB||2nd Round of 2005 NFL Draft (New York Giants)|
|Travis Daniels, LSU, CB||4th Round of 2005 NFL Draft (Miami)|
|Marquise Hill, LSU, DE||2nd Round of 2004 NFL Draft (New England)|
|Chad Lavalais, LSU, DT||5th Round of 2004 NFL Draft (Atlanta)|
|Bradie James, LSU, LB||4th Round of 2003 NFL Draft (Dallas)|
|Norman LeJeune, LSU, DB||7th Round of 2003 NFL Draft (Philadelphia)|
|Birthdate||August 3, 1971|
|Education||1994 - Bachelor’s Degree from Georgia
1996 - Master’s Degree from Auburn
|Family||Married to Carol Muschamp (formerly Davis); Has two sons: Jackson and Whit|
Bowl Games as a Coach
|2010||BCS National Championship|
Bowl Games as a Player