University of Florida defensive linemen Caleb Brantley and Joey Ivie pose for a picture before the Gators 24-10 win over Georgia / Gator Country photo by David Bowie Will Muschamp didn’t waste any time addressing the elephant in the room when he addressed media during his Sunday night teleconference.
“I’m sure there will be a lot of questions about us going back to Florida,” he began. “We had four great years at the University of Florida and I have tremendous respect for the university, for the program. You know, I grew up in Gainesville, I grew up a Gator.”
Muschamp was born in Rome, Georgia but spent most of his life in Gainesville and grew up a fan of the Florida Gators. He went to Oak Hall High School in town. He called the opportunity to be the head coach at Florida a dream job when he was hired. Muschamp started 18-8 (10-6) in the SEC in his first two seasons before a 10-13 (7-9 SEC) record led to his firing after four seasons.
“In this profession, if you don’t win enough games, you get fired,” Muschamp said. “And that’s part of it. There’s no hard feelings, there’s no animosity, there’s no grudge. It’s part of our profession.”
After just one season as the defensive coordinator at Auburn Muschamp took the head coaching job at South Carolina, which was vacated in the middle of the year by Steve Spurrier, who has since returned to Florida as an Ambassador and Consultant for the Florida Gators Athletic Department.
Florida fans that lived through the toxic end to the Muschamp era in Gainesville circled this date, November 12, before the ink was dry on Muschamp’s new contract with South Carolina. Muschamp says he holds no ill will towards Florida over the way things ended in 2014, but agreed that there is an interesting dynamic this Saturday.
“Seeing those guys on the field and having been in their living rooms and recruited them and all that Heck I didn’t realize it was going to be Senior Day on the day, it’s their last home game,” Muschamp said. “There’s some great young men on that football team. Guys I’ve got tremendous respect for that, I admire a lot of those guys. Recruited them to Florida and some really good football players.”
The players on the other hand, especially the ones that chose to come to Florida because of Muschamp, have mixed emotions.
“They treated me like family. Just the calls and how they included my family and the in-house visit, coming to my school a lot,” senior defensive lineman Joey Ivie said. “When you’re a kid and you build relationships with a coach like that and you’re a solid commit to a school like this, you build those solid relationships.”
Ivie recalled his in-home visit with Muschamp, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive line coach Bryant Young. The visit didn’t go as planned but Ivie recalled it fondly four years later.
“My mom was going to cook. But I guess something went wrong, I […]