Update 1:49 p.m. UF has made it official, and athletic director Scott Stricklin is holding a press conference at 3:00 p.m.
The Florida Gators have officially fired Dan Mullen, according to ESPN’s Chris Low. The program was spiraling out of control ever since a narrow loss to Alabama, so this was a predictable outcome. Mullen finishes 34-15 as Florida’s head coach and will not be able to see if this year’s squad will be eligible for a bowl game.
The Gators saw immediate success under Mullen when he took over in 2018. Florida had back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins and won the SEC East in Mullen’s third season. However, the program has clearly fallen behind bitter rival Georgia in terms of success, recruiting and in-game coaching.
Mullen’s buyout from UF is $12 million: $6 million due immediately, and $1 million per year for the next six years. But the Gators are one of the richest programs in all of college football, and will have plenty of dollars to reach for the best coach available. They also finally finished construction on an indoor practice facility during Mullen’s tenure, and upgraded the facilities that were behind most SEC competition only a few years ago.
It’s going to be a difficult search for Florida in the offseason, with LSU and USC also in the mix for head coaches. The Gators likely won’t be the only powerhouse program in the state making a leadership change, with Miami and Florida State also considering moving on from their respective coaches at the end of the season. But AD Scott Stricklin, who brought Mullen from his old job at Mississippi State to Gainesville, has shown he isn’t afraid to swing big in the past. We’ll see where he goes.