The Florida Gators still have two games left in the regular season, but head coach Billy Napier knows he’s likely facing a losing record with the Gators through two years as the head coach.
In the SEC, a losing season can be a death sentence, especially for a head coach. Napier signed a 7-year, $51.8 million contract in 2021, but fans are already questioning his effectiveness as the man in charge.
Two SEC coaches have been fired so far this season. Texas A&M let go of Jimbo Fisher this weekend despite a buyout worth more than $76 million, and Mississippi State parted ways with first-year head coach Zach Arnett following a three-game losing streak.
It seems neither cost nor seniority matters more than winning, and Florida hasn’t done much of that under Napier. But is Napier really the next SEC coach up on the chopping block?
“This is a program that used to be a national title contender every year,” Sallee wrote. “Now it’s an irrelevant has-been that routinely gets run over even by mediocre opponents.
“It’s firing season in the SEC; Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Mississippi State Zach Arnett have already received their pink slips… If Napier can’t give the administration something to be excited about in one of the next two matchups, he could find himself next in line behind Fisher and Arnett either this winter or early next fall.”
Napier addressed his job security during his Monday presser.
“I think you know what you sign up for,” Napier said. “I think we all do. But I mean it’s part of life, right? We all have a job to do, and ultimately I think we view it as a challenge.
“You view it as an opportunity. And look, these are well-thought-out decisions. You don’t just flip a coin and decide to be the head coach of the Florida Gators. For me, you go into it with a strategy and a plan. You adapt, you evolve, you adjust, and we’re in the middle of our process. It’s been happening for a long time that way.”
There’s no doubt that there are people who want Napier fired, but it only matters if Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin (or anyone above him — i.e. UF President Ben Sasse) feel the same way.
Napier inherited one of the toughest jobs in the country, but he’s remained focused on his mission to reestablish a winning culture at Florida. The attitude has certainly changed, but now the wins need to come.
If Napier doesn’t get his “pink slip,” at the end of this year, 2024 has to be a winning year and then some.