Billy Napier
Napier at the 2018 SBC Media Day
Current position
TitleHead coach
TeamFlorida
ConferenceSEC
Record11–14
Annual salary$7.1 million[1]
Biographical details
Born (1979-07-21) July 21, 1979 (age 44)
Cookeville, Tennessee, U.S.
Playing career
1999–2002Furman
Position(s)Quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
2003–2004Clemson (GA)
2005South Carolina State (QB)
2006–2008Clemson (TE/RC)
2009–2010Clemson (OC/QB)
2011Alabama (analyst)
2012Colorado State (AHC/QB)
2013–2016Alabama (WR)
2017Arizona State (OC/QB)
2018–2021Louisiana
2022–presentFlorida
Head coaching record
Overall51–26
Bowls2–2
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
Sun Belt (2020–2021)
Sun Belt West Division (2018-2021)
Awards
Sun Belt Coach of the Year (2019, 2021)

William Hall Napier (born July 21, 1979)[2] is an American football coach currently serving as head coach at the University of Florida. From 2017 until 2021, he served as head coach at the University of Louisiana, amassing a 40–12 record in four seasons with three consecutive 10+ win seasons and two seasons finishing in the AP Poll, both firsts in the programs' history. Prior to Louisiana, he served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arizona State University in 2017.

Playing career

Born in Cookeville, Tennessee, Napier was a standout quarterback for Murray County High School in his hometown of Chatsworth, Georgia, where he played for his father who was his head coach.[2] He was named All-State in 1997 and accepted a scholarship to play football at Furman University.[3] During his time with the Furman Paladins, Napier was a four-time letterman, and took over the starting quarterback duties for his junior and senior seasons. The Paladins won two conference championships during Napier's time there, and he was selected to two All-Southern Conference teams at quarterback.[4] In his junior year, he led his team to the 2001 NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game, losing to Montana, 13–6.[5] Napier earned second-team All-Southern Conference honors in 2001 and 2002.[6][7]

Coaching career

Assistant coaching

Early coaching career (Clemson, SC State)

After graduating from Furman, Napier headed to Clemson as a graduate assistant. Following a two-year stint as a GA at Clemson, he was then hired as the QB coach at South Carolina State in 2004. After only one year with SC State, Napier chose to return to Clemson when he accepted a job with dual roles as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator on Tommy Bowden's staff. In his third year as TE coach and recruiting coordinator, Tommy Bowden resigned midseason after early season struggles that failed to meet high expectations, and Napier gave up his roles as RC and TE coach when he was named QB coach by newly appointed interim head coach Dabo Swinney. His new role also included assisting Swinney with the playcalling duties for the remainder of the year.[8]

When Swinney was promoted from interim head coach to full-time head coach after the 2008 season, Napier was promoted to offensive coordinator while retaining his duties as QB coach.[9] After a 2009 season where Clemson would go on to win the ACC Atlantic Division behind the strength of Napier's offense that scored a then school record 436 points,[10]

Alabama, Colorado State, Florida State, and Arizona State

A steep reduction in Clemson's offensive output led to Napier's termination at the end of the 2010 season.[11] Within only a few weeks of being dismissed as OC at Clemson, Napier was contacted by Nick Saban from Alabama and offered a job as an offensive analyst. After spending the 2011 season as an analyst on Saban's staff, Napier earned a championship ring following Alabama's win over LSU in the BCS National Championship Game. As a result of his experience under Saban during the 2011 season as well as the time spent working closely with fellow Alabama assistant Jim McElwain, Napier was able to get back into hands-on coaching by following McElwain to Colorado State to become the QB coach and assistant head coach. Napier did not stay in Colorado for long—he was hired in January 2013 by Jimbo Fisher, then head coach at Florida State, to be the team's tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator, but departed less than a month later as Saban brought him back to Tuscaloosa to take over from Mike Groh as WR coach going into the 2013 season.[12][13]

After a four-year stint as Alabama's WR coach including a second national championship in January 2016, he was hired by Todd Graham to become offensive coordinator at Arizona State.[14] In Napier's first season back at OC since being fired as Clemson's OC back in 2010, his offense led Arizona State to finish with a 7–5 record and a Sun Bowl trip. Arizona State fired head coach Todd Graham after the 2017 season and brought in former NFL coach Herm Edwards, who stated publicly that Napier would be able to continue in his role as OC if he would like. However, Napier declined the opportunity to remain at ASU as the offensive coordinator.[15]

Louisiana

On December 15, 2017, Napier was named the 26th football head coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette replacing Mark Hudspeth.[16] His first season with the team resulted in a win of the Sun Belt Conference's West division and a bowl appearance (a Cure Bowl loss to the Tulane Green Wave), with a 5-3 conference record and a 7-7 overall record.

Prior to the 2019 season, Napier's Cajuns were picked to finish first in the West Division[citation needed] and picked to finish second in the conference[citation needed], one vote behind Appalachian State. In addition, eight of his Cajuns were selected to the preseason all-conference team, a feat not accomplished since the early Hudspeth years.[17] Napier's 2019 Cajuns finished with an 11-3 overall record (7-1 conference) and defeated the Miami RedHawks 27-17 in the 2020 LendingTree Bowl (January), his first bowl victory with the Cajuns and as a head coach. The following season, the Cajuns won the First Responder Bowl in 2020. In his career with the Cajuns, Napier's teams broke several school records, including the first double-digit winning season, first to receive votes in major national polls, first divisional conference championship, first win against a ranked team on the road, second win against a ranked opponent[citation needed], the first-ever regular-season game to air on ESPN, and the highest-ranked team that the Cajuns have ever defeated (at No. 23 while previous ranked victory was at No. 25)[citation needed].

In his final season with the Cajuns, Napier finished 12–1 with a twelve-game win streak at the time of his departure. He also led the Cajuns to their first outright conference championship in more than 50 years and their first outright Sun Belt Conference championship. The team finished the season ranked 17th in the Coaches poll and 16th in the Associated Press poll.

Florida

On November 28, 2021, Napier was named the 28th head football coach at the University of Florida, replacing Dan Mullen.[18] He was officially announced by Florida via a press conference on December 5, 2021.

Personal life

Napier resides in Gainesville, Florida, with his wife, Ali, and three children.[19] Napier is a Christian.[20]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns (Sun Belt Conference) (2018–2021)
2018 Louisiana 7–7 5–3 T–1st (West) L Cure
2019 Louisiana 11–3 7–1 1st (West) W LendingTree
2020 Louisiana 10–1 7–1 1st (West)[21] W First Responder 16 15
2021 Louisiana 12–1 8–0 1st (West) New Orleans[a] 17 16
Louisiana: 40–12 27–5
Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference) (2022–present)
2022 Florida 6–7 3–5 T–4th (Eastern) L Las Vegas
2023 Florida 5–7 3–5 T–4th (Eastern)
Florida: 11–14 6–10
Total: 51–26
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth
  1. ^ Napier left for Florida before UL's bowl game

References

  1. ^ "AP source: Napier gets 7-year, $51.8M contract at Florida". WINK News. December 5, 2021. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  2. ^ a b 2000 Furman Football (PDF). Furman University. 2000. pp. 23–24. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  3. ^ "Chatsworth native Napier named head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette". The Daily Citizen. December 15, 2017. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  4. ^ Peloquin, Steve; Walker, Jay (December 15, 2017). "Getting To Know The New UL Football Coach". 103.3 The G.O.A.T. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  5. ^ "Grizzlies 13, Furman 6 (box score)". Great Falls Tribune. Great Falls, Montana. December 22, 2001. p. 4S. Retrieved February 5, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  6. ^ http://eweb.furman.edu/athletics/football/seasons/2001/%2701pressreleases/NationalChampionship.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  7. ^ "Johnson and Zobel Tabbed First Team All-SoCon by the Media". The Citadel Athletics. December 3, 2002. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  8. ^ "Swinney Announces Staff Changes". Clemson Tigers. October 14, 2008. Archived from the original on March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  9. ^ "Swinney Announces Football Staff Assignments for 2009". Clemson Tigers. January 12, 2009. Archived from the original on March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  10. ^ McDonald, Dan (December 15, 2017). "Former Alabama, Clemson assistant Billy Napier to take helm as Ragin' Cajuns football coach". The Advocate. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  11. ^ "Napier and Powell Will Not Return to Clemson Coaching Staff". Clemson Tigers. January 2, 2011. Archived from the original on March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  12. ^ Nohe, Patrik (January 15, 2013). "Seminoles Finalize 2013 Coaching Staff, Add Napier, Sanders". Miami Herald. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  13. ^ "FSU football loses seventh assistant". Tampa Bay Times. February 22, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  14. ^ Wolken, Dan (January 28, 2017). "Arizona State hires Alabama receivers coach Billy Napier as offensive coordinator". USA Today. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  15. ^ Wolken, Dan (December 15, 2017). "Arizona State's hiring of Herm Edwards further under microscope after Billy Napier's departure". USA Today. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  16. ^ Dabe, Christopher (December 16, 2017). "UL-Lafayette hires former Alabama assistant Billy Napier as football coach". NOLA.com. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  17. ^ "Eight Ragin' Cajuns Named to Sun Belt Preseason All-Conference Teams". RaginCajuns.com. July 18, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  18. ^ Sallee, Barrett (November 28, 2021). "Florida hires Louisiana's Billy Napier as coach: Gators swipe one of most in-demand names". CBSSports.com. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  19. ^ Buckley, Tim (May 17, 2020). "A day in UL coach Napier's new life opens with school". The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  20. ^ Mercer, Kevin (November 24, 2021). "Louisiana football coach Billy Napier leans on God as he leads Ragin' Cajuns to historic success". Sports Spectrum. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  21. ^ "Sun Belt Conference Championship Football Game Canceled". sunbeltsports.org. December 17, 2020. Retrieved December 18, 2020.