Gators fire Mullen

Florida head coach Dan Mullen has been fired, the school announced on Sunday afternoon. Running backs coach/special teams coordinator Greg Knox will serve as the interim head coach for the Florida State game.

This news comes the day after the Gators lost 24-23 in overtime to Missouri to drop them to 5-6 overall and 2-6 in SEC play. This marks the first time since the SEC expanded to an eight-game conference schedule in 1992 that the Gators finished league play with only two wins.

Dating back to last season, the Gators are 2-9 in their last 11 games against Power Five competition.

Mullen finishes his nearly four-year tenure with a 34-15 record. He led the Gators to three consecutive New Year’s Six bowl games and the 2020 SEC East title before losing their final three games of last season and falling apart midway through this season.

Mullen oversaw a drastic turnaround on offense. The 2020 team ranked third in school history in yards per game, seventh in points per game and second in yards per play.

Individually, quarterback Kyle Trask broke the school records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in a season, and tight end Kyle Pitts set the records for touchdowns in a season by a tight end and tied the school record for touchdown receptions in a game by any player. Pitts became the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history.

Ultimately, though, the Gators’ performance on the other side of the ball is what cost Mullen his job. The 2020 team gave up the most yards and the most points of any Florida team since at least 1945. The 2021 defense has given up at least 40 points in three of its last five games, including 42 points in the first half against Samford, a school record for a half.

Mullen fired defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and offensive line coach John Hevesy two weeks ago and promised to make this a more physically and mentally tough program moving forward.

After their latest loss, though, athletic director Scott Stricklin decided that Mullen will not be given the opportunity to dig the program out of this hole.

Knox has more than 20 years of experience as an assistant coach in the SEC, and he led Mississippi State to a victory in the 2017 TaxSlayer Bowl over Louisville as the interim head coach.

The Gators need to beat Florida State to make a bowl game this season.

Ethan was born in Gainesville and has lived in the Starke, Florida, area his entire life. He played basketball for five years and knew he wanted to be a sportswriter when he was in middle school. He’s attended countless Gators athletic events since his early childhood, with baseball being his favorite sport to attend. He’s a proud 2019 graduate of the University of Florida and a 2017 graduate of Santa Fe College. He interned with the University Athletic Association’s communications department for 1 ½ years as a student and has spent the last two football seasons writing for InsideTheGators.com. He is a long-suffering fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Rays. You can follow him on Twitter @ehughes97.

1 COMMENT

  1. Sorry to see this happen. I’m not sure we can expect a good match, new HC from the AD after watching the last three hires fail so dramatically. Four if you count the way Meyer ended his stint. This next hire needs to be a major leader of men. Someone who commands respect, can attract high caliber coaching talent, recruits and keeps home the top talent this state produces and who builds a program continuing the excellence we have come to expect since the 1990s. It’s time for a long term hire!