UF’s soccer coach Tony Amato will leave the program 11 months after his hiring, the team announced Wednesday.
A WUFT News report detailed complaints from current and former players about Amato’s comments on their eating habits and bodies.
Florida ended its one and only season under the former Arizona coach with a 4-12-4 record — the worst in program history — and lost 12 players to the transfer portal.
UF athletic director Scott Stricklin was made aware of the issues in October, he said during a Wednesday media session.
“As the issues continued to be brought to my attention, it became apparent that sufficient progress was not being made and Tony was not a fit for the University of Florida,” he said.
The change is necessary for Florida’s soccer program to meet expectations, Stricklin said. He declined to give further details but said he appreciated Amato’s hard work during his time in Gainesville.
Stricklin’s expectations for positive change within the program shrunk as the season progressed and reconciliation efforts seemed null.
“I didn't see the type of progress we needed and so I kind of lost confidence that we were going to be able to get where we need to get to,” Stricklin said.
Stricklin said he didn’t want to directly compare Amato’s departure to September’s Cameron Newbauer controversy within the women’s basketball program. Although both programs split with a coach amid allegations of unprofessional behavior, Stricklin said he worked to collect information in real time during Amato’s tenure as opposed to his retroactive investigations into Newbauer’s behavior.
Florida soccer finds itself in a second consecutive offseason coaching search. Stricklin said he is confident he’ll find the right candidate but wants to make sure the athletes’ voices are heard during the hiring process.
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