Florida fired coach Dan Mullen on Sunday after the Gators fell to 2-6 in SEC play, their worst conference winning percentage in a season since 1979. The program announced it was parting ways with Mullen and running backs coach Greg Knox will serve as the Gators interim coach as UF searches for Mullen's replacement.
It was a dramatic fall for Mullen, who led Florida to the SEC Championship Game and a third straight New Year's Six bowl appearance last season. However, the Gators have lost four straight games against FBS opponents and are 2-9 against Power Five teams dating back to the final three games of the 2020 season. Florida nearly upset then-No. 1 Alabama in The Swamp back in September but has consecutively lost at Kentucky, at LSU, at South Carolina and at Missouri with a tough 34-7 defeat in the annual Florida-Georgia game. The Gators' lone win since early October came 70-52 against Samford, a game in which Florida allowed a program-record 42 points in the first half ... to an at-the-time 4-5 FCS team.
Mullen thanked Florida fans in a statement released on Twitter.
"The program has a bright future ahead with the young talent on the team and the new football facility that will be finished next spring," Mullen said in the statement.
Mullen rode plenty of hype into Florida when he took over in 2018. He had led Mississippi State to its best stretch in program history from 2009-17 with the Bulldogs going 69-49 with eight straight bowl appearances. Mullen was also a "coming home" hire as the Gators' star offensive coordinator under coach Urban Meyer who led a transcendent offense that helped win the program's last two national championships in 2006 and 2008.
Florida went 22-5 (11-5 SEC) over Mullen's first two seasons with a pair of New Year's Six bowl game victories. The Gators put together a record-setting offense in 2020 that kept them in College Football Playoff contention deep into the season before they unraveled in an upset loss to LSU and close defeat at the hands of Alabama in the SEC title game. Florida was then blown out 55-20 by Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, a game that may have served as a harbinger for what was to come this season as UF sat a number of its star players for various reasons.