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Florida hires Billy Napier as head football coach

Nov. 29 (UPI) -- The University of Florida hired Billy Napier as its football coach, the school announced. Napier, who holds the same role at Louisiana, will coach the Ragin' Cajuns on Saturday and arrive in Gainesville, Fla., on Sunday.

Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin announced Napier's hire Sunday.

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"We are humbled and honored to accept this incredible opportunity to be the head football coach at the University of Florida," Napier said in a news release.

"Our team, staff and entire organization will work daily to establish a program with integrity and class that we all can be proud of. ... We embrace the expectations and are excited about the challenge ahead. We will assemble a special group of people and immediately get to work building a great program."

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Florida fired former coach Dan Mullen on Nov. 21. Mullen went 34-15 in the regular season and 2-1 in the postseason in four years with the Gators. He spent nine seasons at Mississippi State before he joined the Florida staff in 2018.

Napier is 39-12 in four seasons at Louisiana. He led the Ragin' Cajuns to an 11-1 record in 12 games this season. Louisiana is ranked No. 21 in the Coaches Poll.

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Napier, 42, started his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant in 2003 at Clemson. He was quarterbacks coach in 2005 at South Carolina State. The former Furman quarterback held roles as a positions coach and offensive coordinator from 2006 through 2010 at Clemson.

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He was named assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach at Colorado State in 2012. He coached wide receivers from 2013 through 2016 at Alabama.

Napier spent the 2017 season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arizona State. He took over as head coach at Louisiana in 2018.

He led Louisiana to four Sun Belt Conference West Division titles and once conference championship. He was the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year.

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Louisiana hosts Appalachian State (10-2) in the Sun Belt Conference Championship game at 3:30 p.m. EST Saturday at Cajun Field in Lafayette.

Florida (6-6) beat Florida State (5-7) in its regular-season finale Saturday in Gainesville to become bowl eligible.

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