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Florida has decided to part ways with football Coach Dan Mullen, according to multiple people surrounding the program. The move was first reported by Matt Zenitz. Mullen was in his fourth season as the Gators head coach. He has already informed his staff and a team meeting is being held this afternoon.
Athletic Director Scott Stricklin met with the media on Sunday afternoon and had this to say about hiring a new coach.
“We’re going to put the resources necessary to get the right person and put the right structure around that person.”
“The University of Florida is highly committed to the sport of football,” Stricklin added.
The University has announced that RB Coach Greg Knox will serve as the interim coach for the Florida State game. He previously served as interim coach for Mississippi State, after Dan Mullen left in 2017, leading the Bulldogs to a bowl win.
As for the buy-out, Dan Mullen will get his full $12 million dollar buyout. $6 million due within the next 60 days. $1 million a year for the next six years. There is no mitigation in the deal, if Mullen gets a new job.
Mullen finished with a record of 34-15 during his four seasons in Gainesville.
Saturday’s loss to Missouri put the Gators at 2-9 against Power Five opponents, going back to the loss to LSU in 2020. This was also the fourth straight loss to and FBS team, and will also give the Gators the fewest SEC wins in a season since 1986. As Mullen pointed out numerous times in his postgame press conference, they have also lost seven-straight games that came down to one-possession. To make matters worse, the Gators did not win an SEC game on the road this season.
If there was ever a game that Mullen did not need to lose if he planned on 100% being back in Gainesville next season, it was that one. The Florida program has now hit what has to be close to rock bottom, from a momentum standpoint, so a decision had to be made in regards to Mullen’s future.
The Gators hired Mullen from Mississippi State after the 2017 season and his first two seasons ended with the them playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game. Mullen won 10 games in 2018 and 11 games in 2019. Unfortunately for the Mullen, it never felt as if the program was in good standing, dating back to the LSU loss last season.
After firing defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, the Gators gave up 52 points to FCS school Samford, and had already given up 40 points in the previous week to South Carolina.
This goes deeper than on the field coaching problems, as the recruiting has been criticized by many in the industry and this year’s class was already ranked 32nd in the country.
This was a tough decision for AD Scott Stricklin to make according to folks around the program, but pressure from donors and other folks close to the program made this a tough hole for Mullen to ever climb out of.
I’ve been told by folks that one name to watch early on would be Alabama OC Bill O’Brien, as he has been near the top of Stricklin’s rolling list for a while. There will be many names eyeing this job over the next few weeks, but look for Scott Stricklin to go after the guy he wants and not deal with any kind of fluff from the industry. Other names could include James Franklin, Billy Napier and a few others.