As Coach Billy Napier Takes Florida Job, Louisiana Fans Feel Gratitude For What He’s Built
William "Billy" Hall Napier accepted his first head coaching job on December 15th, 2017, signing a contract with Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns.
The realistic hope among the fanbase was that someday, Napier would be hired away by a prestigious college football program.
Why? Because it would mean he had enough success to attract the attention of a P5 program with limitless resources.
Prior to that, every head football coach in UL's modern era had been let go due to on-field results.
In his first press conference as head coach of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, Napier deflected media questions about what the offense would look like, or what the national perception of the program was.
Instead, he continually talked about the "process" of coaching, winning each day, establishing a strong culture, building the right staff, helping young men grow off the field, and why he felt Lafayette would be a great community for him, his wife Ali, and their three young children.
It wasn't unusual for a coach to be somewhat low-key at an introductory press conference, being careful not to set a win-loss expectation with bold predictions.
But what Coach Napier did over the next forty-seven and a half months was smash expectations, dominate the "process", build the best staff in the Sun Belt, maintain a winning culture, establish trust between him and University leadership, and continually embrace the community in and around Acadiana.
The results are undeniable.
With one game to go, Napier has gone 39-12 overall, 32-5 in the last three seasons, won four consecutive Sun Belt West Division titles and has an opportunity to win the Sun Belt Championship this Saturday at Cajun Field when Louisiana hosts Appalachian State at 2:30.
Napier didn't just win. He built a foundation. And did it with class.
Louisiana football is currently ranked #20 in the AP Poll, #21 in the Coaches Poll, and is riding a school-record 11 game winning streak.
Whoever the next head coach of UL is will step into a program that sits atop the Sun Belt Conference.
When a head coach leaves a program for another job, fanbases can sometimes become sour.
In the case of Napier, Louisiana's fanbase has reacted the same way as him. With gratitude.
Dr. Bryan Maggard, Louisiana Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, hired Napier. He shared his gratitude as well.
As we wrap up Thanksgiving week, there's plenty of gratitude to go around.
Coach Napier shared it. The fanbase and administration returned it.
Thank you Coach.