Muschamp out, will finish out regular season
Will Muschamp has been dismissed as Florida's head football coach after four seasons at the helm, according to multiple reports. The decision comes on the heels of Florida's stunning 23-20 overtime loss to South Carolina on Saturday, one that saw the Gators cough up a 17-10 lead in the final minute of regulation and fall out of the SEC East race.
Muschamp will be allowed to coach Florida's final two games before stepping down, similarly to how Ron Zook coached the Gators' final four games of the regular season after his firing in 2004. Muschamp will receive $2 million for each of the three seasons left on his contract, as well as an additional $1 million, making his overall buyout about $7 million. UF's press release Sunday said that Muschamp "would step down at the conclusion" of the 2014 season.
"Upon evaluation of our football program, we are not where the program needs to be and should be," Gators athletics director Jeremy Foley said in the school release. "I've always said that our goal at the University of Florida is to compete for championships on a regular basis. 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."
In four seasons at UF, Muschamp, who was hired after serving three years as Texas' defensive coordinator and Mack Brown's supposed heir apparent, went 27-20 overall and 17-15 in SEC play as a head coach. After going 7-6 in Muschamp's first season, the Gators rode a veteran defense and successful running game to an 11-2 record and a 7-1 slate in conference competition. But in Muschamp's final 21 games he went 9-21 and 7-9 against SEC teams.
Florida's 4-8 season in 2013 saw the Gators fall to the likes of Vanderbilt and then-FCS Georgia Southern, among other embarrassing losses. At times this year it's been just as bad, if not worse, for a group that has struggled with execution and a conservative approach offensively.
"I appreciate the opportunity that has been offered to me and my family by Dr. Machen, Jeremy Foley and the University of Florida," Muschamp said in the release. "I was given every opportunity to get it done here and I simply didn't win enough games - that is the bottom line. I'm disappointed that I didn't get it done and it is my responsibility to get it done. I have no bitter feelings, but this is a business and I wish we would have produced better results on the field. We have a great group of players and a staff that is committed to this University and this football program. They have handled themselves with class and I expect them to continue to do so. As I've said many times, life is 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond."
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