Paul Finebaum discusses Florida’s ‘toxic’ atmosphere that led to Dan Mullen’s firing

The University of Florida has fired football coach Dan Mullen on Sunday midway through the coach’s fourth season with the team, Athletics Director Scott Stricklin said on the team’s website.Florida lost to Missouri on Saturday in a 23-24 overtime game, dropping the Gators to a 5-6 record overall and a brutal 2-6 record within the Southeastern Conference this season. Florida has lost four of its last five games, with the only win coming against the FCS-level squad Samford.Mullen finished his UF tenure with a 34-15 record since taking over in 2018, highlighted by last season’s trip to the SEC title game — a 52-46 loss to Alabama.”I met with Coach Mullen shortly before noon today in his office and we had a conversation. I just told him I felt like we needed to go in a different direction for the Gators and our football program,” Stricklin said in a news conference.Greg Knox, the special teams coordinator and running backs coach, will take over as interim coach for the rivalry game against Florida State University on Saturday. The Gators must win that game to become eligible to play in a bowl game.Stricklin said he offered Mullen the opportunity to coach the team for the FSU game, but Mullen declined, wary of being a distraction for the team.

Paul Finebaum is well aware about coaching dynamics in the SEC, and how a situation like Florida could unfold in a matter of days or weeks.

On the ESPN College Football Podcast on Sunday, Finebaum discussed with Matt Barrie the firing of Dan Mullen by the Gators, and how it came about to Athletics Director Scott Stricklin.

“Well, he had no choice,” Finebaum said. “I said to you that I felt like he was on life support, and the tug of war down in Gainesville, do we wait a week, do we owe it to the players to have Senior Day, the old line that Stricklin’s predecessor, Jeremy Foley once said, ‘If it’s inevitable, do it immediately,’ I think ruled the day. Why wait. By the way, what if he wins that game, it really doesn’t mean anything. The atmosphere down there had grown toxic, many of the former players, and I’m talking about pre-Urban Meyer days, had turned against Mullen, and Stricklin had no choice.”