Florida fire coach Dan Mullen, complete the amazing fall

Florida fire coach Dan Mullen, complete the amazing fall

Gainesville, Florida. — Florida fired coach Dan Mullen on Sunday, a day after their sixth defeat in nine games, two months after the Gators injured his racket with defending champion Alabama and a year after he got a chance to play the college game.

Mullen’s stunning fall and unsurprising departure ended two tumultuous seasons that included spiraling losses, numerous PR missteps, NCAA penalties, and a victory over lower-tier Samford, which wasn’t much for Gators fans to celebrate.

Mullen finished 34-15 over four seasons in Florida that included a trip to last year’s Southeast Conference championship game and three New Year’s Six Bowls.

His last game was a 24-23 overtime loss in Missouri that highlighted Florida’s flaws: inconsistent play in the middle, a porous attacking line, a lack of playmakers on either side of the ball and an inability to win close matches. The Gators (5-6, 2-6 SEC) have lost seven consecutive games with one possession, all in the past two seasons.


Florida hosts Florida State (5-6) on Saturday, and the winner qualifies for it. They would do without Mullen, who also served as the team’s offensive coordinator and play-related.

Special team coordinator and linebacker coach Greg Knox will serve as interim coach.

Athletics director Scott Stricklin wanted to give Mullen every chance to turn things around – especially since the team finished sixth in the CFP standings just a year ago. He even rewarded Mullen with a bonus and an off-season three-year contract extension – but it was becoming clear that Mullen was losing the support of senior administrators, key promoters and even the program’s most loyal fans.

Stricklin was scheduled to hold a news conference later Sunday.

The Gators Mullen will pay out $12 million in seven installments, with $6 million paid within 30 days. Mullen will then receive $1 million every July 15 through 2027. Six of Mullen’s associates have expired contracts, making the timing of the training change relatively ideal from this point of view.


The Gators also has an $85 million stand-alone soccer facility that will open next year, an upgrade that’s been waiting for years. That and being surrounded by Florida’s fertile recruiting pool should make the Sunshine State’s best college football job all the more attractive.

Florida is likely associated with most of the top coaches speculated as candidates to fill coaching vacancies at LSU and Southern California, including: Mario Cristobal of Oregon, Luke Fickell of Pennsylvania, James Franklin of Pennsylvania, Lynn Kevin of Mississippi, and Bailey Napier from Louisiana. as possible alternatives. How about another run at former Oklahoma coach Bob Stubbs, the former Gators assistant under Steve Spurrier?

Florida has lost nine of its last 11 games against Power Five competitors, including four in a row, and the current enlistment class ranks 34th in the country, according to Rivals.


Mullen fired two close friends and senior assistants after a 40-17 defeat in South Carolina earlier this month, but the split from defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and running coordinator Jon Hevesy did little to get Florida back on the right track.

The Gators responded with a 70-52 victory over Samford who felt the loss more than any result in Mullen’s four years at Gainesville. They gave up a season’s 530-yard high and most points ever at Florida Field for an opponent, and that came against a team in the middle of the pack from the Southern Conference and Football Championship division.

It’s the most points an FCS opponent has collected against a SEC team.

The Gators rallied in the second half and Mullen celebrated in the locker room as if nothing was wrong, another strange appearance for a man who has provided so much Florida brass since replacing Jim McElwain in 2017.

The Gators finished 21-13 in the league game under Mullen.


His offensive acumen has made him one of the SEC’s top play-callers over the past fifteen years—four as attacking coordinators for Florida, nine as head coach for Mississippi State, and then four more for Gainesville cases—but his recent troubles have overshadowed all of his prowess.

Mullen’s recruitment was the root cause of his field problems. He’s certainly held on to Grantham and Hevesy for longer than he should have been and was in discussions with Stricklin last week to make more staff changes if he wins and saves his job.

His tough ways got him into hot water last year after he doubled down on his Florida Field packs during a pandemic.

He also earned Florida NCAA probation for the first time in 30 years, and received an exhibition penalty for recruiting violations. He was also fined and reprimanded by the Securities and Exchange Commission for his role in the bench clearance battle, and was widely criticized for his deafening comments after two losses.


His failure to take public loss ownership has continued this season and has been on top after an astonishing 20-13 in Kentucky last month. When asked if he had been trained, Mullen began to take the numbers off the stats sheet.

We outdid them. We outgrew them. We took full advantage of it,” Mullen said. We were better in the third moments.”

Despite Mullen’s many errors, Stricklin granted him a raise and extended his contract to three years in May. Mullen, 49, made $7.6 million this year, up from $6.07 million in 2020, and was on contract through 2026.


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