It’s official: Jim McElwain is no longer Florida’s head coach.
After reports of his ouster surfaced earlier Saturday, the school announced it and McElwain “mutually agreed to part ways.”
“We want to thank Coach McElwain for his efforts in leading the Gator football program,” athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a statement. “We are confident Coach Shannon will provide the proper guidance to the players and rest of staff during this time and we will begin a national search for the next head coach.”
Florida’s statement said the two sides “are currently negotiating” the terms of McElwain’s separation from the school. Randy Shannon, the team’s defensive coordinator, has been named the team’s interim coach.
McElwain released a statement through his Twitter account:
On Saturday, after the Gators were blown out 42-7 by rival Georgia, Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde reported that there was the possibility of “an immediate coaching change.” On Sunday, Florida officially moved on from McElwain just seven games into his third year with the program.
McElwain led UF to the SEC East title in his first two seasons, but his teams have been plagued by offensive woes. Those issues have continued in 2017, and Saturday’s loss was Florida’s third straight, dropping the Gators to 3-4 on the year.
Earlier Saturday, a report emerged that the school was discussing a buyout with McElwain’s representatives. Florida, hours before the UGA game, shot that report down.
All of that followed a drama-filled week, starting when McElwain vaguely said he, his players and coaches have received threats, including death threats, from fans. Florida, after looking into the matter, issued an eye-raising statement saying McElwain “offered no additional details” about the supposed threats.
That ordeal, per Forde, played a big part in McElwain’s eventual ouster.
That mini-drama followed McElwain’s vague reference Monday to death threats, which he did not explain in detail to anyone – including his bosses. That led to a pointed statement from Florida later Monday, throwing the situation back in McElwain’s lap by saying the coach declined to offer any specifics. The handling of that situation indicated a growing rift between the school and McElwain.
Multiple sources said that controversy is what turned McElwain’s situation from tenuous into a crisis. ESPN reported that Florida is exploring firing McElwain for cause and thus escaping paying him a $12.9 million buyout.
McElwain, who arrived in Gainesville after a three-year stint at Colorado State, finished his tenure at UF with a 22-12 overall record with a 16-8 mark in SEC play.
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