Florida is still looking for a replacement for retiring Athletics Director Jeremy Foley, and USA Today’s Dan Wolken reports that potential candidates are concerned about Foley’s influence in an emeritus position.
Foley announced on June 13 that he would be retiring, and the university had planned to have his replacement in time for him to step down Oct. 1.
“But with that date looming and no hire in place, speculation around college sports has begun to bubble about Florida’s process and whether Foley may end up staying slightly longer to facilitate the transition,” Wolken reported. “Even if the school announced a hire in the next few days, it would be difficult to have someone in place by the original target date.”
The Gators have already lost out on two possible candidates, according to Wolken: North Carolina’s Bubba Cunningham and Arizona’s Greg Byrne. Cunningham supposedly withdrew his name from consideration the day before he was supposed to sign a contract with Florida.
Multiple candidates have voiced concerns about the plan for Foley to remain on staff in an emeritus role. Prospective ADs apparently aren’t thrilled about having Foley looking over their shoulder.
“Essentially,” Wolken said, “some higher-profile athletics directors who might have been interested in the job aren’t sure about the dynamics of having Foley, who was credited for much of Florida’s athletics success during his 25-year run, right down the hall.”
Another AD told Wolken, however, that having Foley around should be viewed as a positive, and that the soon-to-be retired AD wouldn’t be intrusive. He even called the Florida position, “the best AD job in the country.”