GAINESVILLE — The search for Urban Meyer's successor has begun and Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said it will not be limited to those with head coaching experience or that he shares a personal relationship with.
"The slate's open right now," Foley said. "I have not contacted anybody. Now of course, according to some e-mails I've gotten and some websites that's not true. But trust me, that's true. I have not contacted anybody."
For now, Foley will conduct the search with the help of his staff, but in the past he has relied on a head-hunter's group to assist in the search for coaches. He said he expects the search will take no longer than two or 2½ weeks— but he will not rush.
"In coaching searches, no matter what sport, you have to get in front of them, and you need to find out if they are a fit," Foley said. "Not just if they can coach, but if they are a fit for this institution, for this community, for this athletic program, and likewise, are we a fit for them?
"Certainly recruiting is affected here, but we're not going to move too fast because we want the right person and with the job Urban left here, we are going to have a large number of candidates."
Among the constraints facing UF's search is most potential candidates are preparing teams for bowl games, which Foley said he will respect. However, a coach will not be eliminated from consideration if he has a team playing in January, which is after the target date Foley mentioned. He will allow a new hire to coach in a bowl game.
Foley said while he's saddened by Meyer's departure "now we look to the future." He said he has learned a tremendous amount about how to conduct a coaching search since Steve Spurrier abruptly left after the 2001 season. And, he knows what he's looking for in a replacement.
"We know the expectations here, we have the same type of expectations, no matter what type of job it is," Foley said. "We know the challenges, and we look forward to moving ahead. … To me it's all good, except you're trying to replace one of the greats."
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