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State of Florida filled with quality head football coaches

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The roster of Tampa Bay college coaches grew again Monday, when ESPN reported that Florida Atlantic University had agreed on a new contract with Lane Kiffin.

Kiffin, who has been the offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama, had been mentioned for several openings before agreeing to join the Owls. Kiffin might have gotten a bigger head coaching job if not for his reputation of jumping one school for another.

Regardless, the roster of coaches in the state schools is impressive.

FSU has Jimbo Fisher, ackowledged to be one of the best in the country. He flirted with LSU in each of the last two off-seasons, but stayed with the Seminoles. Fisher is the only coach in the state who has won a national title. Fisher is 74-17.

Florida has Jim McElwain, who has guided the Gators to the last two SEC title games (but lost). His team’s offense has been slowed by the lack of a true quarterback, however. McElwain is 17-8 at Florida, 39-24 overall.

Miami seems pleased after one season of coach Mark Richt, who led his team to an 8-4 finish this year. He’s 153-55 overall.

USF just hired new coach Charlie Strong, who has led the Louisville and Texas programs. He’s 53-37 overall.

UCF enjoyed its turnaround under Scott Frost from a winless team to a bowl team. His club is 6-6.

FIU earlier announced it would hire Butch Davis, who is 79-43 at Miami and North Carolina.

Now there is Kiffin, who is 35-21 as a head college coach.

Whose the best coach? We’ll see. Few states can match these guys. It ought to be fun.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit [email protected]

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