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Thursday, June 13, 2024
<p>UF coach Jim McElwain and the UAA mutually agreed to part ways on Sunday. <span id="docs-internal-guid-e5f5592d-69ff-89f7-c103-fbd746e1e2cd"><span>McElwain leaves UF with a 22-12 record.</span></span></p>

UF coach Jim McElwain and the UAA mutually agreed to part ways on Sunday. McElwain leaves UF with a 22-12 record.

After a third consecutive loss and a media circus surrounding Jim McElwain’s claims that death threats were leveled against members of the UF football program, Florida fired McElwain on Sunday. He finished with a 22-12 record over two and a half seasons.

Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon will finish the season as the interim head coach, UF athletic director Scott Stricklin said.

“I appreciate coach McElwain, the way he has handled this,” Stricklin said Sunday. “I like coach Mac. I think he is a good man. I want to thank him for his time and his effort serving as our football coach.

“I’m confident coach Shannon and our staff will provide the guidance our program needs these next four weeks. We have four games left.”

In McElwain’s last news conference after a 42-7 loss to Georgia, he seemed to sense the decision was imminent.

“I know what I was brought here to do,” McElwain said. “Look, we haven’t been good on offense. I get it. We’ve won a few games, but we haven’t won enough, haven’t won a championship. That’s real. That’s life. That is this business, and I take full responsibility for all of it.”

On Dec. 4, 2014, UF’s athletic director at the time, Jeremy Foley, hired McElwain to repair a woefully underperforming offense.

McElwain seemed like a good fit with an SEC pedigree and head coaching experience. He came from an offensive coordinator position at Alabama before serving as Colorado State’s head coach and leading the program to its first 10-win season in over a decade.

But after three years without cracking the top 99 teams in terms of scoring, Stricklin let McElwain go.

That’s not the only reason Florida (3-4, 3-3 SEC) is moving forward without McElwain.

Last Monday, McElwain shocked fans, reporters and UF administrators by claiming threats, including some death threats, were leveled against players, coaches and their families.

McElwain had a moral and perhaps legal obligation to report those threats to the university, but didn’t.

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“Monday created a different story line and caused a lot of distractions,” Stricklin said Sunday night. “It’s hard to speculate on what would have happened had last week not occurred.”

Instead of headlines about how the program is preparing for a matchup with No. 3 Georgia, Florida saw headlines of a coach who failed to notify police and staff about a potentially life-threatening situation. Two days later, McElwain made it clear that he regretted bringing up the threats in the first place.

“It’s just something that came up and obviously was on my mind,” McElwain said Wednesday. "It doesn’t make it right to air that laundry.”

It was too late. The claims of death threats were already national news and featured as a top story on ESPN. And while he didn’t say it, Stricklin led on that it played a role in McElwain’s departure.

“This is more than just wins and losses, and I’ll just leave it at that,” Stricklin said Sunday.

While early reports of McElwain’s firing Sunday went unconfirmed, multiple Florida players tweeted remarks that made it seem like McElwain’s tenure was over.

“Gotta love finding these things out through twitter … a heads up would’ve been nice,” UF quarterback Luke Del Rio posted around 2 p.m. “No, we weren’t told beforehand. Hence the previous tweet.”

At 5:30 p.m., Stricklin held a team meeting and confirmed what the players had seen on Twitter.

“They were quiet, but they made eye contact and they shook my hand on the way out of the room,” Stricklin said.

For Stricklin, the next step is beginning to search for a new coach and settling McElwain’s massive buyout clause, estimated at over $12.7 million.

“We have reached a settlement in principle. We just don’t have it signed yet,” Stricklin said.

Stricklin said McElwain didn’t talk to his players on Sunday, but the opportunity is “still available.”

You can follow Matt Brannon on Twitter @MattB_727 or contact him at mbrannon@alligator.org.

UF coach Jim McElwain and the UAA mutually agreed to part ways on Sunday. McElwain leaves UF with a 22-12 record.

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