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Athletics: Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns AD Bryan Maggard on job opportunities, coach Billy Napier future

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Jan. 27, 2021

Boise State tried luring UL athletic director Bryan MaggardSouth Carolina and Auburn chased Ragin’ Cajuns football coach Billy Napier.

But, amid fresh openings elsewhere, both have stayed.

Maggard told The Daily Advertiser on Tuesday he hasn’t spoken with UCF regarding its vacant athletic director job, but did acknowledge speaking with Boise State before the Broncos hired Baylor associate vice president for athletics Jeremiah Dickey earlier this month.

Maggard was identified by the Orlando Sentinel this week as one of 11 “potential candidates” for the UCF job, which opened when Tennessee hired Danny White as its new AD. Maggard also was mentioned by the Knoxville News Sentinel on a list of eight “top candidates” to replace Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee, before the Volunteers hired White.

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“I think anytime my name, or anyone on our staff’s name, is mentioned in a candidate pool,” Maggard said , “that is an absolute compliment to the full body of work we’re accomplishing here at Louisiana.

“But I have had zero contact with Central Florida and I would tell you my focus is on the tremendous amount of work we need to accomplish at UL to continue to move this program forward.”

Maggard’s ‘heard nothing’ about Napier, Vols

Maggard suggested he knows of no contact between Napier and Tennessee, which fired Jeremy Pruitt.

“I have heard nothing about that at all,” Maggard said when asked if he had any concerns about the Volunteers and Napier.

Napier was a candidate in December for jobs at South Carolina and Auburn, but removed himself from consideration before the Gamecocks hired Oklahoma assistant Shane Beamer and the Tigers hired Boise State coach Bryan Harsin.

“I am never 100 percent confident,” Maggard said, laughing, when asked if he was confident Napier would stay at UL after those searches concluded. “By virtue of the industry and my personality, I never take anything for granted.

“But, no, I feel very good that he will be our football coach for the near future.”

Napier didn’t respond to a request for comment, made Tuesday through a team spokesman, on the Tennessee vacancy.

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Maggard’s focus remains on Cajun matters

Maggard – whose contract was extended by five years in June, and now runs through February 2025 – suggested he hasn’t contemplated pursuing the UCF job.

“I have not heard anything (from Central Florida),” he said, “and until I do there’s no reason for me to even think about it.

“My focus is absolutely on what we need to accomplish here, and the big-picture item is, obviously, raising money to renovate Cajun Field.”

Maggard was hired with a $295,0000 base salary; at the time of his 2020 extension, the school said “no other contract terms” had changed.

Maggard’s contact with Boise State came after ex-athletic director Curt Apsey moved into a university-level fundraising position.

“I had an opportunity to visit with Boise State University,” Maggard said, “and through those conversations decided I would not be a candidate for that position.”

The personal attention he’s received, Maggard suggested, reflects the Cajuns’ success since he was hired as UL’s athletic director in February 2017.

He came to UL after 21 seasons at Missouri, where he left as executive associate athletic director.

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“I know my name was mentioned in the Tennessee search,” Maggard said, “and, again, I just go back to saying I think nationally people are recognizing what we are accomplishing at Louisiana.

“That’s being noticed, and therefore I think a product is names begin to get thrown out there – whether it’s a head coach, an athletic director, deputy athletic directors, whoever.

“But all that,” Maggard added, “is really the result of the collective efforts of our entire department, and the things we are accomplishing, both locally and nationally.”

Shared vision keeps Maggard at UL

UL’s football team finished the 2020 season ranked 16th in the Amway Coaches Poll and No. 15 in the Associated Press Top 25.

The Cajuns are 28-11 in three seasons under Napier, whom Maggard hired, including wins in the Cure, LendingTree and First Responder bowls.

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UL’s softball team – coached by Gerry Glasco, whom Maggard also hired – opens the 2021 season ranked No. 9 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25.

Withdrawing his candidacy for the Boise State job, Maggard indicated, reflects his desire to continue working with UL’s current academic administration, led by Joseph Savoie.

“We have, in my opinion, the best university president in Dr. Savoie,” he said.

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“He is a fantastic leader in higher education. He understands the role that athletics can and should play within the university setting. He’s extremely supportive of what we, collectively, want to accomplish.

“His vision is our vision. Our vision is his vision,” Maggard said. “And we continue to work together with him and other campus leaders in trying to accomplish this goal.”