11am CT update>
Arizona State has now confirmed our report. Billy Napier is headed to Lafayette.
Nothing official yet from La-Lafayette, but this good-bye to Billy Napier from Herm Edwards is all you need to know. pic.twitter.com/SYEnXGmyfM
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) December 15, 2017
12:40 p.m. CT Update: Louisiana-Lafayette has announced the hire.
“We are absolutely thrilled to identify a Head Football coach with the experience and success that Billy Napier brings to the University of Louisiana,” AD Dr. Bryan Maggard said in a statement. “Coach Napier is highly respected within the coaching profession and brings tremendous experience from nationally-ranked programs. He is widely considered to be one of America’s top recruiters and offensive minds and will instill the values of a Championship program into Ragin’ Cajuns Football.”
Arizona State offensive coordinator Billy Napier plans to accept the Louisiana-Lafayette head coaching job, sources told FootballScoop Friday.
A rare assistant with experience under Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban, Napier served as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator on Tommy Bowden’s Clemson staff from 2006-08, then was promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when Swinney took over as head coach. He remained in that spot through the 2010 season, when he joined Saban’s staff in Tuscaloosa as an offensive analyst.
Napier followed Jim McElwain from Alabama to Colorado State as assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach, then returned to Tuscaloosa a year later as wide receivers coach, where he remained for five seasons.
He left before the 2017 season to serve as Arizona State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In his one season leading the Sun Devils, Arizona State’s offense jumped from 103rd nationally in yards per play to 65th.
Napier leaving for Louisiana-Lafayette creates an early crossroads for the young Herm Edwards era in Tempe. AD Ray Anderson fired Todd Graham and inserted Edwards with the belief that a new head coach working with the same assistant coaches would push the program forward, but defensive coordinator Phil Bennett left the staff earlier this week for family reasons and now Napier has taken another job. Sources have told FootballScoop that other Arizona State assistants have also fielded job offers this week. Additionally, we are told that strength coach Shawn Griswold will not return.
Napier is set to take over for Mark Hudspeth, who was let go last month after seven seasons on the job. Hudspeth led the Ragin’ Cajuns to four straight New Orleans Bowl wins — but 23 wins, including two of those New Orleans Bowl victories, were later vacated due to NCAA violations. The program stumbled to three straight losing seasons from there, including a 5-7 mark this year.
His assistant pay pool will be $2 million according to Yahoo’s Pat Forde. The largest assistant salary pool in the Sun Belt this season was Arkansas State at $1.24 million.
Per source, an Eye-opening detail in the Napier-to-Louisiana deal: a $2 million salary pool for assistant coaches. Huge for a G5 school
— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) December 15, 2017
His acceptance will leave Kent State as the only open head coaching job in FBS.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.