Florida and Jim McElwain have mutually parted ways after the coach claimed that family members and players received death threats last week.
Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon will serve as interim head coach. Shannon, who was Miami’s head coach from 2007 to ’10, was promoted to defensive coordinator in January.
“We want to thank Coach McElwain for his efforts in leading the Gator football program,” athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a statement. “We are confident Coach Shannon will provide the proper guidance to the players and rest of staff during this time, and we will begin a national search for the next head coach.”
Florida officials were meeting with McElwain all day Sunday and have asked him to accept less than his $12.76 million buyout and step down as the Gators’ coach. A final number on his contract buyout hasn’t been determined between McElwain and Florida.
A meeting with Gators players is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET.
On Saturday, sources told ESPN that the school was discussing whether it could fire McElwain with cause.
After failing to find any evidence to substantiate claims made by McElwain last week that his family and players received death threats, Florida administrators were working to see whether that would be enough to relieve the university from paying his full buyout of $12.76 million if he were fired.
Football Scoop first reported the news of McElwain’s exit.
The news comes a day after another tough result for the unranked Gators (3-4, 3-3 SEC), who were dismantled 42-7 by then-No. 3 Georgia (8-0, 5-0) on Saturday in Jacksonville. It was Florida’s third straight loss.
McElwain, who was hired in December 2014, has a 22-12 record and won the SEC Eastern Division in back-to-back seasons, becoming the first SEC coach to make it to the SEC championship game in each of his first two seasons.
His 19 wins entering the 2017 season were the second most by any SEC coach in 2015 and ’16. Those 19 wins tied Steve Spurrier for the second-most victories by a Florida coach in his first two seasons.