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USATSI

Louisiana coach Billy Napier is a candidate that's been connected to the Auburn coaching job, and had even reportedly jumped to the top of its wish list, according to 247Sports. He won't be granting that wish, though, as Louisiana released a statement from athletic director Bryan Maggard on Monday stating that Napier will remain as the head coach of the Ragin' Cajuns moving 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 grow our successes. We believe a successful football program elevates the profile of the entire University, and we know there is much more to accomplish."

Napier has been the head coach in Lafayette for three seasons, building the Ragin' Cajuns into a Sun Belt Power during his tenure. They finished 11-3 and 7-1 in conference play in 2019, won the West division title and beat Miami (OH) in the LendingTree Bowl. Earlier this month, Napier also expressed his desire to remain at Louisiana amid interest from South Carolina, who eventually hired Shane Beamer as its next coach. 

He followed that up with a stellar regular season in 2020 that concluded with a No. 19 ranking in the final College Football Playoff poll. The 9-1 Cajuns topped Big 12 Power Iowa State in Week 1 of the season, repeated as Sun Belt West champion with its only loss of the season coming against undefeated Coastal Carolina on Oct. 14. The Sun Belt Championship Game, which was scheduled to be a rematch with the Chanticleers, was canceled due to COVID-19 issues at Coastal Carolina. The Sun Belt declared the two teams co-champions despite the head-to-head regular season outcome.

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