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Florida Gators part ways with head coach Dan Mullen

Article written by:On3 imageJames Fletcher III


Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Florida Gators have agreed to part ways with head coach Dan Mullen, according to On3’s Matt Zenitz. After spending four seasons as offensive coordinator from 2005 to 2008, Mullen returned to Florida as head coach in 2018. Over four seasons, he put together a 34-15 record, but finished just 13-10 in the last two seasons.

Florida won its first SEC East title since 2016 a year ago but lost 52-46 in the SEC championship and 55-20 in the Cotton Bowl. Since, Florida has dealt with issues on the recruiting trail. With six decommitments, including five from the 2022 class, the Gators have dropped to No. 20 in On3’s consensus team rankings.

Florida’s season has been in a tailspin since it nearly knocked off Alabama in September. The Gators are 3-5 since then and enter this week’s game against rival Florida State still looking for bowl eligibility.

The recent overtime loss to Mizzou is just the latest in a string of disappointments. The Gators lost 40-17 at South Carolina was arguably their worst, but they also suffered disappointing losses to Kentucky and LSU.

Following the embarrassment against South Carolina, Mullen fired defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and run-game coordinator/offensive line coach John Hevesy. The moves were expected following the season, but Mullen fast-tracked his decision following the loss.

Days after the loss in the Palmetto State, Florida struggled against FCS Samford. The Gators trailed 42-35 at halftime, scoring more points in one half than Alabama, Kentucky or Tennessee did in four quarters this year against Florida. But the second half was a different story as the Gators came away with the 70-52 victory.

Still, it was another low point for Mullen and Florida this season. And in the locker room following the close win, the Gators raised some eyebrows with their celebration. Samford’s 52 points were the most an FCS team has ever scored against an SEC team.

Dan Mullen’s controversial recruiting statement

For a head coach who has struggled to recruit, Mullen did not quell those fears earlier this season. In a press conference earlier in November, the Florida head coach got short with the media. He dodged a question regarding the Gators’ effort to recruit top talent consistently, and then made a comment that has been picked apart by colleagues and fans.

“We’re in the season now,” Mullen said, when asked about Florida’s recruiting process. “We’ll do recruiting after the season — when it gets to recruiting time we can talk about recruiting.”

Mullen’s ill-advised comment led to another strange moment. Florida ended its weekly press conference shortly thereafter.

The frayed relationship with media, paired with poor performances on the field and recruiting trail ultimately led to Mullen’s departure from Gainesville.