Auburn coach search: Billy Napier remains engaged in Louisiana amid Tigers’ interest

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Louisiana coach Billy Napier is a candidate who has been linked to Auburn’s coaching job, and is said to have even climbed to the top of his wishlist, according to 247Sports. He won’t grant that wish, however, as Louisiana released a statement from athletic director Bryan Maggard on Monday stating that Napier will remain the head coach of the Ragin ‘Cajuns going forward.

“We are very excited about the future of Ragin ‘Cajuns football under Napier’s leadership,” he said. “We will continue to invest in the program to ensure we maintain and develop our successes. We believe that a successful football program raises the profile of the entire University, and we know there is much more to accomplish. ”

Napier was Lafayette’s head coach for three seasons, turning the Ragin ‘Cajuns into a solar belt power during his tenure. They finished 11-3, 7-1 in conference in 2019, won the West Division title and beat Miami (OH) at the LendingTree Bowl. Earlier this month, Napier also expressed his desire to stay in Louisiana despite interest from South Carolina, who ultimately hired Shane Beamer as their next coach.

He followed that up with a stellar regular season in 2020 that ended with a No.19 ranking in the latest College Football Playoff poll. The 9-1 Cajuns dominated Big 12 Power Iowa State in Week 1 of the season, repeated as the Sun Belt West champion with their only loss of the season to undefeated Coastal Carolina on Oct. 14. The Sun Belt Championship game, which was slated to be a rematch with the Chanticleers, has been called off due to COVID-19 concerns at Coastal Carolina. The Sun Belt declared the two teams co-champions despite the head-to-head regular season result.

Auburn always has a good list of candidates. Brandon Marcello of 247Sports reported on Monday that Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, UAB head coach Bill Clark and current Auburn defensive coordinator / interim head coach Kevin Steele are some of the names still in the mix on Les Plaines.

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