Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football coach Billy Napier linked to opening at TCU
Another Power 5 job is open, and UL coach Billy Napier’s name is again being linked to the vacancy.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Napier is among several candidates “who have emerged in recent days” to replace the fired Gary Patterson at TCU. Patterson, the coach since 2000, was let go Oct. 31.
Others mentioned by the Star-Telegram include SMU’s Sonny Dykes, Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott and Jackson State's Deion Sanders.
Napier’s name also surfaced when LSU announced it would part ways with Ed Orgeron after the season.
The Ragin' Cajuns (8-1) have won eight straight and are ranked No. 25 in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll heading into its Sun Belt Conference game Saturday (2:30 p.m., ESPN+) at Troy.
REALIGNMENT:Why the Sun Belt feels it is among best Group of Five leagues
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NEXT WEEK:No. 25 Cajuns get kickoff time, TV slot for game at Liberty
Napier has turned down multiple opportunities during his four-year stay at UL, including ones at Mississippi State after the 2019 season and South Carolina after the 2020 season. The former Clemson and Arizona State offensive coordinator also was among the top candidates at Auburn after last season, and he emerged on candidate lists at Baylor and Missouri.
Citing an undisclosed “source close to the university’s selection committee,” the Star-Telegram reported Tuesday that Sanders “has put himself squarely in the mix to become TCU’s next coach.”
Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and UTSA’s Jeff Traylor “are no longer considered candidates,” the newspaper also reported.
According to the Star-Telegram, Napier, 42, meets criteria listed by TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati for his ideal next coach because he’s a current head coach with an offensive background; someone “who understands today’s college game,” including the transfer portal and players profiting off their name, image and likeness, also is among chief criteria.
Napier’s UL staff has recruited Texas heavily throughout his tenure with the Cajuns.
The TCU job remains open as other jobs across the country open and close.
LSU still is searching while Orgeron continues coaching for the rest of the season. Texas Tech hired Baylor associate coach Joey McGuire to replace the fired Matt Wells. Washington State fired Nick Rolovich for refusing to comply with COVID-19 vaccine orders. Nebraska retained Scott Frost after he reportedly agreed to a restructured contract with lower pay and a reduced buyout. And UMass fired Walt Bell, a UL graduate assistant in 2007, after he went 2-23.