Sports

Person familiar with decision says Will Muschamp out at Florida; will finish regular season

Florida head coach Will Muschamp watches from the sideline as South Carolina is about to score a touchdown to tie the game and send it in to overtime late in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. South Carolina won in overtime 23-20. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Florida head coach Will Muschamp watches from the sideline as South Carolina is about to score a touchdown to tie the game and send it in to overtime late in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. South Carolina won in overtime 23-20. (AP Photo/John Raoux)  (The Associated Press)

Will Muschamp is out as Florida's coach, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the school has not made the announcement official.

Muschamp will coach the last two games of the regular season against Eastern Kentucky and Florida State.

He is 27-20, including 17-15 in conference play, in three-plus seasons at Florida

Sports Illustrated first reported Muschamp was being let go.

The decision came less than 24 hours after the 23-20 loss in overtime, and ends Muschamp's four-year tenure that will be remembered for inept offense, conservative play-calling and nearly as many losses as wins in Southeastern Conference play.

The last two were debacles that sealed Muschamp's fate.

The Gamecocks blocked a field goal and a punt in the final four minutes of regulation Saturday, special teams gaffes that turned what should have been a 10-point lead into a third consecutive home defeat.

It was Florida's sixth defeat in its last eight games in Gainesville.

The previous loss was equally troubling for athletic director Jeremy Foley. The Gators (5-4, 4-4 SEC) turned the ball over six times in a 42-13 drubbing against Missouri on homecoming last month. Chants of "Fire Muschamp" could be heard throughout an emptying Florida Field. The Gators also gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown and a punt return for a score.

Foley stuck with Muschamp after that one, saying the coach and the season would be evaluated "as it plays out." The Gators regrouped, benched turnover-prone quarterback Jeff Driskel and won consecutive games in dominating fashion. They even had an outside shot at winning the SEC's muddled Eastern Division.

But that ended against the Gamecocks, which entered the game with one of the country's worst defenses.

The Gators attempted just one pass in the final 17 minutes of regulation. They became predictable and pedestrian, fairly typical during Muschamp's regime. Florida fell to 17-8 under Muschamp at home, where former coaches Steve Spurrier (68-5) and Urban Meyer (36-5) dropped a combined 10 games in 18 seasons.

Florida, which has three national championships and eight SEC titles, expects better results. The fanbase demands it. And it became impossible for Foley to stand behind Muschamp any longer.

Foley watched the final few minutes from the south end zone, leaning against the goal post with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face. After Dylan Thompson's game-winning, 4-yard bootleg in overtime, Foley walked over to South Carolina's sideline and congratulated Spurrier. He seemed to avoid Muschamp.