Where there is smoke, there usually is fire. And it appears as though the rumblings out of Florida about the job status of Gators football coach Jim McElwain may be legitimate.
Per a report from ESPN’s Mark Schlabach and Edward Aschoff, Florida administrators are in discussions about whether or not they can fire McElwain for cause. Doing so would potentially eliminate the need to pay a buyout in excess of $12.9 million.
A snippet from the ESPN report has several juicy details on the situation:
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.
Florida trailed Georgia 35-0 after 3 quarters on Saturday afternoon. A loss in that game would drop the Gators to 3-4 on the season.
McElwain won back-to-back SEC East titles during his first two years in Gainesville, but it appears his relationship with the program may be strained to the point of no return halfway through Year 3.
Shannon, who was promoted to defensive coordinator at Florida after Geoff Collins left to be the head coach at Temple, has head coaching experience on his resume. He was the Miami coach from 2007-10, compiling a 28-22 record.
This is a breaking news story that will be updated.