Randy Shannon to give first press conference as UF interim coach

UF held a press conference Sunday evening to discuss the termination of Gators head coach Jim McElwain.

Jim McElwain is out as the head coach of the Florida Gators following Saturday's  42-7 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field.

The University of Florida confirmed that McElwain and the University Athletic Association have "mutually agreed to part ways," a news release said Sunday afternoon.

“We want to thank Coach McElwain for his efforts in leading the Gator football program,” Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said in the release. “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.”

Stricklin said during the Sunday news conference that the search for McElwain's replacement will start immediately.

The athletic director initially dodged a question regarding off-field issues with McElwain, citing privacy between the two parties. He did, however, say that multiples factors went into the decision for McElwain's separation from UF.

"I have nothing negative to say about Coach Mac," said Stricklin when discussing McElwain as an employee.

But Stricklin later said he takes the safety of the players very seriously, citing reports of death threats toward the team that were brought up by McElwain on Monday.

Others at the press conference implied that the pressure is too high for Florida's athletic program, but Stricklin dismissed that notion.

"This is a place where we can compete at the highest level," Stricklin said. "I think this is a dream job."

Randy Shannon, who has over 25 years of coaching experience, will serve as interim coach throughout the remainder of the season, the release said.

Shannon was 28-22 as the Hurricanes head coach from 2007-10.

"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," the news release said.

After three years as head coach, the decision to move on from McElwain followed the Gator's biggest loss to Georgia since 1982. McElwain finished 22-12 and was the 25th head coach of the Gators.

“I know what I was brought here to do. We haven’t been good on offense. I get it. We’ve won a few games, but we haven’t won enough. We haven’t won a championship. That’s real. That’s why that is this business, and I take full responsibility for all of it.”McElwain said in his post-game press conference on Saturday.

However, a controversial comment about supposed "death threats" against McElwain and members of his coaching staff might have been the main reason university administrators decided to pull the plug on the McElwain era in year three.

"There's a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger," McElwain told reporters. "And yet it's freedom to show it. The hard part is obviously when the threats [are] against your own players, the death threats to your families, the ill will that's brought upon out there."

When asked to expand on his claims, McElwain wouldn't go into detail about the nature of the threats and said he wasn't planning to contact law enforcement. Two days later, McElwain said he was wrong to even bring up the death threats.

McElwain won the SEC East title in each of his first two years as Florida head coach. However, the team was blown out by Alabama in both trips to Atlanta and McElwain was also 0-2 against Florida State.

This year, the Gators sit a 3-4 and are at risk of missing a bowl game.

Information from ESPN and Jacksonville.com was used in this report

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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