Updated at 3:20 p.m.
Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley has fired head coach Will Muschamp, hours after Muschamp’s team collapsed in the fourth quarter and fell to South Carolina 23-20 in overtime, though a Florida release terms the parting of ways as Muschamp “stepping down at the end of the regular season.”
A Gainesville, Florida, native in his fourth season at the helm of the Gators football program, Muschamp is 27-20 (.574), 17-15 (.531) in Southeastern Conference play, but will have the opportunity to improve his final record as he will remain at Florida for the final two games of the regular season.
“Upon evaluation of our football program, we are not where the program needs to be and should be. I’ve always said that our goal at the University of Florida is to compete for championships on a regular basis,” Foley said in a statement. “Coach Muschamp was dedicated to developing young men both on and off the field. Our student-athletes showed tremendous growth socially and academically under his leadership. His players were involved in campus activities, engaged with the local community and represented the University of Florida with pride.
“I will be forever grateful to Will and his staff for their unwavering commitment to the University of Florida and the mission of our athletic program. He will be missed by everyone in our athletic department – from the people that worked in his office to the people that painted the fields. Will knew everyone and they knew him and everyone in the building loved working with him. Will is as fine a man as you will ever meet, and I will always cherish our relationship with him and his family.”
A source told OnlyGators.com at approximately 9:30 p.m. Saturday night that the necessary parties had been notified hours earlier that Muschamp would not remain at UF.
With three season left on his contract, Muschamp could receive approximately $2 million per year plus an additional $1 million, making his total buyout from the University of Florida almost $7 million if he is fired by the school. It is unknown what sum Muschamp will collect if his departure is indeed a resignation.
Muschamp will remain with the Gators for their final two regular-season games against Eastern Kentucky and Florida State. Foley and school President Bernie Machen also asked previously-fired coach Ron Zook to stay on for the remainder of his 2004 season, calling it “something he deserves” and the “honorable thing to do.” Muschamp’s dismissal comes exactly 10 years and 27 days after Zook’s firing.
Continue Reading » Will Muschamp fired as Florida Gators head coach, will remain with team through season