Former Florida head coach and current Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will interview for South Carolina’s vacant head coaching position by Friday.
The fiery former Georgia safety coached under Nick Saban at LSU and with Miami Dolphins before stints as the defensive coordinator at Auburn and Texas. He was named the head coach at Florida in 2011 and went 18-8 in his first two years at the school, including 11-2 in 2012. However, the Gators faltered after that, combining to go 10-13 overall and 7-9 in the SEC in 2013 and 2014, and he was fired with a 28-21 career record at the school.
Muschamp, 44, did not return a phone call from The State seeking comment. He is scheduled to meet in person with Gamecocks athletics director Ray Tanner before the weekend, a source told The State. He was hired as the Tigers defensive coordinator last offseason after initially having contact with South Carolina officials about the Gamecocks then-open defensive coordinator position.
Auburn finished the regular season No. 90 in the country in total defense. Muschamp signed a five-year deal with the Tigers at the time of his hiring. It paid him $1.6 million this year and is set to increase by $100,000 in each of the next two seasons. There is no buyout clause in the contract on Muschamp’s end.
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A 20-year coaching veteran, Muschamp built his reputation as one of the country’s best defensive coordinators. Until this year, each of his SEC defenses had finished in the nation’s top 15 in fewest points allowed.
Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, a 32-year-old who was been with the Sooners one season, also will speak with Tanner about the job, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Riley’s meeting could evolve into a formal interview, the source said.
Riley, who would become the youngest head coach at the FBS level, was East Carolina’s offensive coordinator for five seasons before joining the Sooners staff. Oklahoma, which is expected to play in four-team College Football Playoff, is seventh in the country in total offense this year with 542.9 yards per game.
Riley runs an offense based on the Air Raid system of Mike Leach, who coached Texas Tech when Riley was a Red Raiders quarterback.
Cal head coach Sonny Dykes, who is 35-38 as a head coach, has been in contact with the Gamecocks as well, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The Gamecocks have been looking for a head coach since Oct. 12 when Steve Spurrier, the winningest coach in school history, resigned after 10-and-a-half seasons. Former South Carolina offensive line coach Shawn Elliott served as the Gamecocks interim head coach and had a 1-5 record. Elliott had a formal interview with Tanner on Wednesday.
The Gamecocks are working from “a short list” of candidates and plan to have a hire made by the end of next week, Tanner told The State earlier this week.