Report: McElwain, Freeze Top Candidates for Gators Job
One job. Two leading candidates. Three times the potential chaos down in Gainesville.
If you listen to various reports coming out of media outlets, the Florida Gators and its athletic staff has already been very busy with its search for a new head coach. The Gators athletic director, Jeremy Foley, is rumored to have already reached out to gauge interest in the position, having contacted Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain and Ole Miss front man, Hugh Freeze.
Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde reported Sunday night that Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain has emerged as the “leading candidate” for the job, according to what multiple sources have told Forde.
As seen on satrudaydownsouth.com, Forde reported:
Information has been gathered on McElwain by Florida officials since the school announced two weeks ago that Will Muschamp would not return as coach, sources said. It is unclear how many other candidates may be involved. Sources said Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was among those on Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley’s radar, but McElwain’s name be at the top of the list.
The report of Freeze being another leading candidate in Gainesville has been a topic of conversation for the past few weeks since Will Muschamp announced he was stepping down from his perch in Gainesville.
Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wrote in his column for Monday that the athletic director for Ole Miss expects the Gators to put a full court press on to obtain Freeze’s services.
Make no mistake about it, Ole Miss Athletic Director Ross Bjork knows that bigger, richer schools like the University of Florida are probably going to come hard after Rebels coach Hugh Freeze.
In fact, the rumors and rumblings are heating up that UF Athletic Director Jeremy Foley is at least entertaining the thought of offering the Gators' head-coaching job to the Ole Miss coach. Especially after Freeze's Rebels knocked No. 1-ranked Mississippi State out of the SEC championship and national title race on Saturday.
We love that he's a hot commodity. That means our program is doing the right things and he's doing the right things.
- Ole Miss Athletic Director Ross Bjork
"It's that time of year and these things come up," Bjork told us on our Open Mike radio show a few days ago. "... We love that he's a hot commodity. That means our program is doing the right things and he's doing the right things."
There are other names on a list of candidates that appears to be a mile long where names from Mike Shanahan to current Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn have been said to be on Florida’s radar.
Nothing has been confirmed yet as to who the program has called, talked to or even said to be the front runner for the job.
The fact this week is conference championship week and there are also still a handful of games to be played may hurt some candidates’ chances because it would appear Florida’s program may want a new coach in place this week to help with recruiting. This could keep someone like TCU’s Gary Patterson from gaining an interview.