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Florida AD Releases Statement About Gators Coaching Search

Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin issued a statement explaining the decision to fire coach Dan Mullen.

Stricklin pledged to "attract a candidate who can sustain high-level success for a long time." and touted Florida's academic and athletic success, "fertile recruiting ground" in the state, and the Heavener Football Training Center, which is set to open this spring.

"There is no timetable for our search, but we are going to move as quickly as possible," Stricklin said. "We want to take the time we need to get the right coach who has high expectations and big aspirations that match the University of Florida, while casting a vision and getting others to buy into that vision, resulting in sustained success over a long period of time."

Mullen was a senior associate athletic director at Mississippi State when the school hired Mullen to lead the football program. He eventually landed the head job in Starkville and became the Florida athletic director in 2016. There, he hired Mullen, Florida's offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer, to return to Gainesville as head coach.

Mullen won 21 games in his first two years with the Gators and took home the SEC East in 2020.

Things took a turn in Dec. 2020 with a 37–34 loss to LSU, which was the first of three straight to end the season. This year, the team is 5–6.

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Florida enters a very competitive offseason for coaching hires. More than a dozen jobs have opened up including spots at other major programs like LSU, USC, and Washington. There will be plenty of competition for some of the top candidates.

"I will always cherish the two National Championships we won during my time at UF, along with the past three New Year's Six Bowls to name a few," Mullen said in a letter to the Florida community after his dismissal. "The program has a bright future ahead with the young talent on the team and the new football facility that will be finished next spring. My family and I thank you for the honor of being your Head Football Coach. Go Gators!"

Greg Knox, the team's special teams coordinator and running backs coach, will serve as interim head coach against Florida State this weekend. Both teams are playing for bowl eligibility on Saturday.

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