While Jim McElwain’s team was getting crushed 42-7 by Georgia in Jacksonville on Saturday, McElwain’s bosses were reportedly trying to find a way to put an end to his tenure in Gainesville. According to a report from ESPN, Florida administrators are looking to see if there’s a way the school can fire McElwain for cause following McElwain’s claims that he and his family have received death threats during a disappointing Gators season.
After failing to find any evidence to substantiate claims made by McElwain this week that family and players received death threats, Florida administrators have worked to see if McElwain’s allegations were enough to relieve the university from paying McElwain’s full buyout of $12.9 million if he were to be fired.
Sources told ESPN that they believe the university has enough cause to fire McElwain without having to pay his buyout. Sources also said that if McElwain were to be relieved of his duties, defensive coordinator Randy Shannon would be asked to be the team’s interim coach.
During the postgame press conference McElwain was asked about the report.
“At the end of the day, we were all brought here to win and we haven’t done it,” said McElwain. “The concern isn’t about my job. It’s about the players and my staff. That’s the concern, it isn’t about me.”
McElwain first mentioned death threats during his press conference on Monday.
“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” he said. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”
Following McElwain’s comments, he met with school officials, and Florida released a statement saying McElwain “offered no additional details” about the alleged death threats during the meeting.
A different reportthat Florida was working on a buyout of McElwain’s contract with his agent. The school quickly refuted the report.
McElwain led the Gators to a pair of SEC East titles in his first two seasons with the team, though Florida moved on to get routed by Florida State and Alabama in consecutive weeks each of the last two seasons. UF was also bludgeoned by Michigan in the 2017 season opener and on its way to being blown out by Georgia on Saturday.
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