Gators, McElwain parting ways
Former Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon to finish out season for Florida
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jim McElwain era is over for the Florida Gators.
McElwain and the University of Florida have mutually agreed to part ways, the school said in a statement Sunday.
The announcement comes one day after Florida was embarrassed by then-No. 3 Georgia 42-7 in Jacksonville.
Former University of Miami head coach Randy Shannon will serve as interim coach for the remainder of the season.
"We want to thank coach McElwain for his efforts in leading the Gator football program," Florida athletic director Scott Strickland said. "We are confident that coach Shannon will provide the proper guidance to the players and the rest of the staff during this time, and we will begin a national search for the next head coach."
The Gators (3-4, 3-3 Southeastern Conference), who began the season ranked in the top 25, have lost three games in a row.
McElwain was 22-12 since taking the helm at Florida in December 2014. He led the Gators to consecutive SEC Eastern Division titles in his first two seasons.
Shannon was head coach of the Hurricanes from 2007-10, leading Miami to a 28-22 record during that span, but he was only .500 against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, winless in bowl games and never won more than nine games in his four seasons. He has spent the past three seasons as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
Gators quarterback Luke Del Rio suggested on Twitter that the players weren't notified of the decision before it went public.
Gotta love finding these things out through twitter.... a heads up would’ve been nice— Luke Del Rio (@LDelRio12) October 29, 2017
No, we weren’t told beforehand. Hence the previous tweet.— Luke Del Rio (@LDelRio12) October 29, 2017
The writing may have been on the wall as early as last week after McElwain made unsubstantiated claims of death threats aimed at players and their families, although he refused to elaborate. That prompted the University Athletic Association to release a statement saying that McElwain would not provide any further details.
Hours before kickoff in Jacksonville, Florida alumnus and attorney Darren Heitner took to Twitter to say that the school and McElwain's agent, Jimmy Sexton, were trying to work out a buyout.
Source: Agent Jimmy Sexton & UF have been trying to work out Coach Mac buyout, but are “miles apart.” Still working hard on it.— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) October 28, 2017
The university later denied the report, but sources told ESPN that the school was discussing whether it could fire McElwain with cause to avoid having to pay the $12.76 million buyout.
Florida still has games remaining against Missouri, South Carolina, UAB and Florida State.
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