After a third straight loss and a strange week that saw the school publicly distance itself from his allegations about death threats, Florida head coach Jim McElwain and the Gators have mutually agreed to part ways.
Randy Shannon will serve as the team's interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
"We want to thank Coach McElwaine for his efforts in leading the Gator football program," athletic director Scott Stricklin said. "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."
McElwain and Florida are negotiating terms of separation. ESPN reported that he had been asked accept less than his $12.76 million buyout.
"I want to thank the University of Florida, the fans and alumni for the opportunity to have been your head coach," he said in a statement. "My family and I will move forward with appreciation and good memories. To the players: Thank you for working hard and giving it your all. I love each and every one of you."
The Gators were blown out by Georgia on Saturday, 42–7, dropping the Gators to 3–4 on the year. Even before the game, though, ESPN reported that Florida officials were exploring whether they had the legal standing to fire McElwain with causedue to his admittedly dishonest reference to supposed death threats earlier in the week.
McElwain said Monday that he and members of staff, as well as their families, had received death threats. Asked by the press for further details, McElwain declined to elaborate. “Our administration met with coach McElwain this afternoon and he offered no additional details,” the school said in a statement.
McElwain later admitted that the threats he was referring to happened “in the past” and said he was wrong to bring them up.
Florida won the SEC East in each of McElwain’s first two seasons but lost to Alabama in the conference championship game on both occasions. Florida lost just four games in those years, a total the Gators have already matched this season.
McElwain finished his two-plus season as head coach with a 22–12 record. He won the 2015 and 2016 SEC East Division title.