The storm clouds are breaking up.
A day after an inexcusable loss to a South Carolina team that was struggling for bowl eligibility, Jeremy Foley has pulled the plug on Will Muschamp. Technically, Muschamp is reported to have agreed to “step down”… but let’s be real, who doesn’t believe Foley made the move? He has no business coming back, and Foley finally figured that out.
Here’s the statement from Jeremy Foley:
“Upon evaluation of our football program, we are not where the program needs to be and should be. I’ve always said that our goal at the University of Florida is to compete for championships on a regular basis,” Foley said. “Coach Muschamp was dedicated to developing young men both on and off the field. Our student-athletes showed tremendous growth socially and academically under his leadership. His players were involved in campus activities, engaged with the local community and represented the University of Florida with pride.
“I will be forever grateful to Will and his staff for their unwavering commitment to the University of Florida and the mission of our athletic program. He will be missed by everyone in our athletic department – from the people that worked in his office to the people that painted the fields. Will knew everyone and they knew him and everyone in the building loved working with him. Will is as fine a man as you will ever meet, and I will always cherish our relationship with him and his family.”
Here is Muschamp’s statement:
“I appreciate the opportunity that has been offered to me and my family by Dr. Machen, Jeremy Foley and the University of Florida,” said Muschamp. “I was given every opportunity to get it done here and I simply didn’t win enough games – that is the bottom line. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get it done and it is my responsibility to get it done.
“I have no bitter feelings, but this is a business and I wish we would have produced better results on the field. We have a great group of players and a staff that is committed to this University and this football program. They have handled themselves with class and I expect them to continue to do so. As I’ve said many times, life is 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond.”
That was about as classy as one could handle it, and that’s part of why I still like Muschamp very much personally, and wish him the best wherever he goes after this. He is a smart, talented defensive mind and a solid recruiter. I hope somewhere down the road, he finds success as a head coach. He’s a likable man and a hard worker and I think he deserves success somewhere.
I don’t hate Muschamp personally in the least bit, and neither should you. He did try his best, which is something that the millions of dollars he makes kind of obscures from a fan base that wants championships every year, and you can’t argue otherwise without having your sanity questioned. I was among the first to call for his head, but even then, I held that he was a good person and should not be criticized personally. I’ll say it again: I do wish him the very best going forward (I just hope it’s not at Georgia).
But there was never a way he was going to survive in Gainesville beyond this year, not with the amount of pressure he put on himself by going 4-8 last year and losing to Georgia Southern. And if there was still any doubt, he erased it with his team’s ghastly performance against Missouri.
This had to happen sooner or later, and I’m relieved that it did. Now Foley can get a head start in searching for his next head coach, which I will be discussing in much more detail throughout the week.
In any case, we’re going to get our Gators back. Someday, anyway.