In an interview with a writer from Florida’s official athletic site, Foley backed the coach he hired in December of 2010. The coach many fans want fired in 2013:
“As athletic director I’m a thousand percent convinced that Will Muschamp is the guy to lead this football program. Nothing has changed in what we feel about Will Muschamp from the day we hired him.
Everyone around here wants the same thing. We want to do what is right for the University of Florida. We understand that this football season has not gone the way any of us wanted it to go, certainly not the way our fans wanted it to go, and most of all, not the way Will Muschamp wanted it to go.
We have a history of being successful, we have a history of fixing things when they need to be fixed, and that is what is going to happen here, and Coach Muschamp is the one that will fix it…
We will get better under Will Muschamp’s leadership. This is not the quote-unquote dreaded ‘vote of confidence.’ This is just how we all feel around here. We have a strong faith and a strong belief in his capabilities, in his leadership skills, in his ability to evaluate what needs to be fixed.
Go back to a year ago: We’re 11-1 and beat four teams in the Top 10 and he was SEC Coach of the Year. I don’t think that was a fluke. I think coaching had a lot to do with that. We’ll stay the course here. We’ll get it right. We’re not going to leg Gator fans down. We want the same thing they want.”
For good measure, Florida president Bernie Machen is also quoted in the story as saying: “I want the Gator Nation to know that I have full confidence in Coach Muschamp and his leadership of the football program.
Now that one is literally a “vote of confidence.”
Support from Muschamp isn’t coming from Florida brass alone. Former Gator coach and current South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier — who’ll face his alma mater Saturday in Columbia — had nice things to say about Muschamp yesterday:
“We’ve got a good relationship. I’ve admired the way he coaches his team and the way he runs the show down there. I made mention that I think last year he was SEC Coach of the Year. After they beat FSU, they were third in the country in that BCS and if Notre Dam had lost to Southern Cal, Florida would have been in the national championship game.
Obviously, this year they’ve had a rash of injuries all over the team that’s really hurt them. They’ve still got plenty of ball players and they’re a very hard-nosed, physical-type of team…
I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone have as many (injuries) as they’ve had.”
Some ticked off Gator backers might not like it, but Foley and Machen are wise to stick with a guy who won 11 games last year. The fact that last year’s accomplishments have already been forgotten — that they mean absolutely nothing — further shows just how much the game has changed and how little patience sports fans have these days. A thumbs-up to Foley and Machen for backing their man… and to Spurrier for tossing in some support, too. He’s not one to bite his lip if he sees something he likes or dislikes, so it’s unlikely his remarks are tied solely to the fact his team is playing UF this week.