SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Head football coach Jim McElwain and the University of Florida parted ways on Sunday a day after the Gators lost in embarrassing fashion to the Georgia Bulldogs 42-7.
"I want to thank the University of Florida, the fans, and alumni for the opportunity to have been your head coach," McElwain wrote on Twitter. "My family and I will move forward with appreciate and good memories."
ESPN reported Sunday that athletic director Scott Stricklin asked McElwain to accept a buyout less than the $12.76 million his contract. The final details of McElwain's departure have not yet been revealed.
"We want to thank Coach McElwain for his efforts in leading the Gator football program," Stricklin said. "We are confident Coach Shannon will provide the proper guidance to the players and rest of staff during this time and we will begin a national search for the next head coach."
Florida is on a three-game losing streak and needs to win three more games to become bowl eligible. The Gators play at Missouri on Saturday.
Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon will serve as the interim head coach while the university searches for a new head coach. Shannon served as the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes from 2007 to 2010.
".I'm confident coach Shannon and our staff will provide the guidance our program needs these next four weeks," Strickland said during a press conference Sunday afternoon. "We have four games left. We're not giving up on this season. I know our young men are ready to go out and be on the field this coming Saturday at Missouri and represent the Gators. Our search for the next head coach of the University of Florida begins immediately. I will do everything I can to keep the search process and the details of the search process confidential."
McElwain was under scrutiny before the blow out loss for being unable to back up his claim that he and members of his staff had received death threats. He apologized earlier this week for bringing up the death threats and said they happened "in the past."
Strickland said McElwain "created a different storyline and caused a lot of distractions."
"This is more than just wins and losses," he said. "I'll leave it at that."
The Gators were 3-4 under McElwain this season. He was 22-12 in three seasons as the head coach. In 2015 and 2016, his teams played in the SEC Championship game, losing to Alabama both times.
McElwain was the offensive coordinator at Alabama from 2008 to 2011 under Nick Saban. He won two BCS National Championships with the Crimson Tide.
His first stint as a head coach was at Colorado State from 2012 to 2014.
Despite his reputation as an offensive guru, McElwain's teams at Florida never fielded powerful offensive attacks. As a matter of fact, they were anemic, and McElwain's squads won the SEC East two consecutive years on the backs of strong defensive units.
The Gators' offense is ranked 112th in yards per game this season. It was 116th in 2016 and 112th in 2015.