Jim McElwain, Florida Part Ways; Randy Shannon Named Interim Head Coach

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2017

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 28: Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain reacts in the third quarter of a game against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field on October 28, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. Georgia defeated Florida 42-7. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

After parts of three seasons as head football coach of the Florida Gators, Jim McElwain and the program parted ways Sunday.

Florida confirmed the news in a release Sunday after Doug Samuels of FootballScoop.com first reported word of McElwain's departure.

"We want to thank Coach McElwain for his efforts in leading the Gator football program," Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said in the release. "We are confident Coach [Randy] 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."

Shannon, who guided Miami to a 28-22 record from 2007 to 2010, was promoted as UF's defensive coordinator in January. He was the Gators' associate head coach since 2015.

Talk of McElwain and Florida parting ways began Saturday after the Gators were dominated by the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs in a 42-7 loss.

That dropped Florida to 3-4 on the season after the Gators lost just four games in each of the previous two seasons under McElwain.

According to ESPN.com's Edward Aschoff and Mark Schlabach, sources said Florida administrators were discussing whether they could fire McElwain without having to pay his $12.8 million buyout.

Florida hired McElwain prior to the 2015 seasons after three years as head coach at Colorado State.

McElwain went 22-16 in his three campaigns with the Rams, including a 10-2 mark in 2014. He matched those 10 wins in 2015, as Florida went 10-4 and was ranked as high as No. 8 in the AP Top 25 poll.

The Gators fell off slightly to 9-4 in 2016, but they closed the season on a high note with a win over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl.

Offense was a major issue for Florida throughout McElwain's tenure, as it ranked 100th in scoring offense in 2015 (23.2 points per game) and 107th in 2016 (23.9 points per game).

Defense was its saving grace, though, as the Gators ranked 11th in scoring defense in 2015 (18.3 points per game) and sixth in 2016 (16.8 points per game).

The offense has remained stagnant in 2017, as evidenced by being tied for 109th (21.3 points per game), while the defense has regressed as well, ranking 66th (26.0 points per game).

Although Florida has made a bowl in every season since 1991 with exception of 2013, major success has been difficult to come by since Urban Meyer's departure in 2010.

The Gators' last national title came at the conclusion of the 2008 campaign, and it has won double-digit games just twice over the past eight seasons.

McElwain went 22-12 in his tenure at Florida, and he owns a career record of 44-28 as a major collegiate head coach.