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Billy Napier’s deal with Florida is 7 years, $51.8 million: report

The contract will make the Gators’ new leader the fifth-highest-paid coach in the SEC.
Louisiana coach Billy Napier leads his team onto the field Saturday in the Sun Belt Conference championship game.
Louisiana coach Billy Napier leads his team onto the field Saturday in the Sun Belt Conference championship game. [ MATTHEW HINTON | AP ]
Published Dec. 5, 2021
Updated Dec. 5, 2021

GAINESVILLE — Billy Napier more than tripled his salary while moving from the Sun Belt to the SEC.

Florida’s newest football coach agreed to a seven-year, $51.8 million contract, making him the fifth-highest-paid coach in the conference, the Associated Press reported Saturday night. He could get bumped to sixth depending on Lane Kiffin’s new deal at Mississippi.

Neither UF nor Napier has publicly released contract details.

Napier will make $7.1 million in his first season and will get a $100,000 raise annually before each of the remaining six years, the person said. Only Alabama’s Nick Saban ($9.75 million), Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher ($9 million), new LSU coach Brian Kelly ($8.6 million) and Georgia’s Kirby Smart ($7.13 million) are due to make more in the SEC next season.

ESPN reported Kiffin’s agreement was “in the range of $7.5 million annually.”

The Gators are expected to provide Napier’s full memorandum of understanding when he’s formally introduced today in Gainesville.

Napier, 42, signed a new contract at Louisiana before the 2021 season that nearly doubled his pay, raising his total compensation to $2 million annually. That deal included a $3 million buyout.

His new contract is similar to what the Gators had been paying former coach Dan Mullen. Mullen signed a three-year contract extension in June that raised his annual salary to $7.6 million.

Mullen was fired last month following the team’s fourth loss in five games. Mullen’s deal included a $12 million buyout that will be paid over seven installments, with a $6 million payout coming this month. Mullen will then get $1 million every July 15 through 2027.

Florida targeted and landed Napier shortly after moving on from Mullen, whose stunningly swift downfall ended a tumultuous two seasons that included mounting losses, numerous public relation missteps and NCAA sanctions.

Napier remained with Louisiana through the Sun Belt title game, which the No. 20 Ragin’ Cajuns won 24-16 over Appalachian State on Saturday. Napier improved to 40-12 in four seasons, including 33-5 the past three.

Napier is a former receivers coach at Alabama under Saban and a former offensive coordinator at Clemson and Arizona State. He has been one of college football’s rising stars and hottest names in recent years. He was in the mix for openings at Virginia Tech and TCU.

He also turned down Mississippi State after the 2019 season and backed away from South Carolina and Auburn following the 2020 season. His name has been connected to other SEC openings, too, including Mississippi and Missouri.

He takes over a Florida program that’s been in disarray for more than a year but is close to opening an $85 million football facility that could help the team catch up in recruiting. And that could help the Gators close the gap on SEC superpowers Georgia and Alabama.

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By MARK LONG

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