Florida fires coach Dan Mullen, completing stunning fall

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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GAINESVILLE, Fla.- Florida fired coach Dan Mullen on Sunday, a day after his sixth loss in nine games, two months after the Gators went toe to toe with defending national champion Alabama and a year after they had a chance to make the College Football Playoff.

Mullen’s stunning downfall and not-so-surprising departure ends a tumultuous two seasons that included mounting losses, numerous public relation missteps, NCAA sanctions and a victory against lower-division Samford that didn’t seem like much for Gators fans to celebrate.

His final game was a 24-23 loss in overtime at Missouri that spotlighted Florida’s flaws: inconsistent quarterback play, a porous offensive line, a lack of playmakers on both sides of the ball and an inability to win close games. The Gators (5-6) have dropped seven consecutive one-possession games, all in the last two seasons.

Florida hosts rival Florida State (5-6) on Saturday, with the winner becoming bowl eligible. They’ll do so without Mullen, who also served as the team’s offensive coordinator and play-caller.

Athletic director Scott Stricklin wanted to give Mullen every chance to turn things around – especially since the team was ranked sixth in the CFP standings just a year ago. He even rewarded Mullen with a raise and a three-year contract extension in the offseason – but it became clear Mullen was losing support of top administrators, key boosters and even the program’s most loyal fans.

The Gators will pay Mullen a $12 million buyout spread over seven installments, with a $6 million payout coming within 30 days. Mullen will then get $1 million every July 15 through 2027. Six of Mullen’s assistants have expiring contracts, making the timing of the coaching change relatively ideal from that standpoint.

The Gators also have an $85 million standalone football facility opening next year, a long overdue upgrade that’s been years in the making. That and being surrounded by Florida’s fertile recruiting pool should make the Sunshine State’s best college football job even more attractive.

Florida has lost nine of its last 11 games against Power Five opponents, including four straight, and its current recruiting class ranks 34th in the country, according to Rivals.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.