Florida fired Coach Dan Mullen on Sunday, a day after his sixth loss in nine games, two months after the Gators went toe to toe with defending national champion Alabama and a year after they had a chance to make the College Football Playoff.
Mullen finished 34-15 over four seasons at Florida that included a trip to the Southeastern Conference championship game last year and three New Year’s Six bowls.
His final game was a 24-23 loss in overtime at Missouri that spotlighted Florida’s flaws: inconsistent quarterback play, a porous offensive line, a lack of playmakers on both sides of the ball and an inability to win close games. The Gators (5-6, 2-6 SEC) have dropped seven consecutive one-possession games, all in the last two seasons.
Mullen’s stunning downfall and not-so-surprising departure ends a tumultuous two seasons that included mounting losses, numerous public relation missteps, NCAA sanctions and a victory against lower-division Samford that didn’t seem like much for Gators fans to celebrate.
Scott Stricklin, athletic director, said he wanted to give Mullen every chance to turn things around. He went so far as to rewarded Mullen with a raise and a three-year contract extension in the offseason, but it became clear Mullen was losing support of top administrators, key boosters and even the program’s most loyal fans.
The Gators will pay Mullen a $12 million buyout spread over seven installments, with a $6 million payout coming within 30 days. Mullen will then get $1 million every July 15 through 2027.
Special team coordinator and running backs coach Greg Knox will serve as interim coach.
– Ella Breedlove