It’s been a rough year for the Florida Gators, and it seems to have just got a little rougher. Head coach Jim McElwain walked off EverBank Field Saturday following the Gators’ 42-7 loss to Georgia knowing the inevitable was coming. Today it was announced Florida relieved the third-year coach of his duties.
FootballScoop broke the news first, citing unnamed sources, of McElwain’s firing. ESPN reported that athletics director Scott Stricklin, who came to Florida from Mississippi State in September 2016, asked McElwain to step down and accept a figure less than his $12.76 million buyouts on Sunday.
It’s unclear who will step in as interim head coach for the remainder of the season, but ESPN also reported that defensive coordinator Randy Shannon was the lead candidate for the role. The 3-4 Gators are looking to become bowl eligible in the four games remaining in their season.
The news broke less than a week after McElwain had a downward spiraling week when he mentioned during his weekly press conference on Monday that his family had received death threats following Florida’s slow season start. The Florida administration didn’t take this news easily since they were unaware of the threats at the time McElwain announced them.
Later that day, Florida released a statement saying in a meeting with officials, McElwain provided “no additional details” regarding the specified death threats.
In his first two seasons with Florida, McElwain won the SEC East and became the first coach in league history to advance to the SEC Championship Game in his first two seasons, per CBS Sports. He accomplished that with a roster full of offensive issues that were handed to him when four-year coach Will Muschamp exited.
In McElwain’s third year, the program took a massive step back with a roster filled with players he recruited and is now in its worst start since 1968.
Florida will travel to Missouri this weekend to take on the Tigers at noon on Saturday.