Jacksonville Sports Day

UF Caves to Fans, Boosters as McElwain, Gators Go Separate Ways

Photo by Tim Casey/UAA

Jim McElwain and the powerful University Athletic Association (UAA)  have mutually agreed to part ways, Athletic Director Scott Stricklin announced Sunday.

With a 42-7 loss to Georgia Saturday,  Florida dropped to 3-4 for the first time since 1986.

The UAA runs athletics, with the actual university taking a back seat in direction, ethics and decisions. The university does benefit financially from the success and notoriety. The UAA is pointing to more than wins and losses for the latest ouster.

ESPN reported that after failing to find any evidence to substantiate claims made by McElwain last week that his family and players received death threats, Florida was 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.

When it comes to evidence and investigating – the UAA historically under former AD Jeremy Foley only found what will benefit their side of a dispute or issue. The lopsided loss to Georgia aid’s Stricklin’s case.

Randy Shannon will serve as interim coach throughout the remainder of the season following a three-year stint on McElwain’s staff as an associate head coach, defensive coordinator, and linebackers Coach.

Shannon has over 25 years of coaching experience, serving as the head coach for the University of Miami from 2007-10.

During his career as a player and coach, Shannon has been a part of three national championship teams.

“We want to thank Coach McElwain for his efforts in leading the Gator football program,” said Stricklin. “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 finished 22-12 during his two-plus seasons as head coach and was hired as the 25th head coach in UF history in 2014 by Foley. Foley has since retired, but remains as Athletics Director Emeritus while serving as an instructor in the UF sport management program,

McElwain won 22 games and Southeastern Conference Eastern Division titles the last two seasons during his tenure at the University of Florida.

Florida’s highest AP Poll ranking under McElwain was No. 8, a mark the Gators reached after their win over Missouri in 2015.  He will be best remembered by many for not allowing criminals to represent the university by playing football – despite their talent on the field.

In his time at Florida, Shannon’s defenses have consistently ranked in the top-10 nationally. During his coaching career, he has tutored 59 players who have been selected in the NFL draft.

Florida’s only score against Georgia was Mark Thompson’s one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that marked his first score of the season.

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