Florida Gators Fire Zook; Spurrier in Wings?

Zook fired but will finish season with Gators (AP)

Florida coach Ron Zook was fired Monday after two-plus years and a stack of embarrassments on and off the field, satisfying a growing groundswell for his ouster that began the day he replaced Steve Spurrier. Zook will finish out the season while athletic director Jeremy Foley and school president Bernie Machen search for another coach. “In the final analysis, it was apparent to me that something’s not working here,” Foley said. “I know that’s kind of nebulous, but it’s the truth. It’s hard to put a finger on it exactly, but it certainly just didn’t appear to be working as we all envisioned.”

The Gators are 20-13 under Zook with four games left — that’s just 14 losses fewer than Spurrier had in 12 seasons. Zook’s latest debacle, a 38-31 loss to Mississippi State, sealed his fate and brought jubilation among those in Gator Nation who turned www.fireronzook.com into their Internet home page. The site posted this message Monday: “It’s happening! It’s happening! Oh my God it’s happening!”

Spurrier’s return would be welcomed in Gainesville. “I’ll cross that bridge if it comes to that,” Spurrier told the Orlando Sentinel. “The thing I’ve tried to do all this year is not be lingering around, acting like I’m waiting for another guy’s job. I don’t believe that’s the right way to do it. But now that he doesn’t have a job, I guess there will be some discussion. We’ll see what happens.”

Clearly, Spurrier is a great fit for Florida. Indeed, he never should have left.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bryan says:

    Yes, spurrier deserves florida, and florida deserves spurrier.

  2. Kate says:

    I read that subject line, and thought, “Now, there’ are 7 words that have never before been strung together in the history of the human race.”

  3. dw says:

    In other words,
    “Satan deserves Hell, and Hell deserves Satan.”

    Bob Stoops probably already has his bags packed.

  4. JW says:

    I love it. I absolutely love it. Bring on Spurrier. Let me refresh Florida’s memory about Spurrier’s record at Mississippi State’s Scott Field (home to the largely-hapless-except-when-you-least-expect-it Mississippi State Bulldogs:

    –The Gators haven’t won a game at Scott FIeld since 1983.

    –Florida’s overall record against MSU since then has State with more wins against Florida than vice versa

    –The last time Florida was at MSU was 2000, and Spurrier left parts of his headset scattered across the visitors’ sidelines after MSU wiped out his defense, scoring I think 42 points in a victory.

    Can you tell I’m a State fan? But only when they win :)!

  5. Mark Hasty says:

    Frank Solich to Florida. It’s a done deal.

  6. Christopher says:

    Yes, bring back credibility to the Gator’s football program. Rarely did you not know whci team was going to show up under Spurrier. The games were alwaysexciting to watch. I predict a tremendous spike in recruiting if he comes back. Zook took some of the less than die-hard fans out of the equation when he started his conservative play style. Bring back the fun and gun….I can tell you with this class the Gators would not have lost to Miami Tennessee or LSU with a one time lead under Steve’s guidance. Kinda changes ones mind about “running up the score”.

  7. E. Lowman says:

    Florida has lacked the drive to score in the 2nd half and needed something to speed them up. Steve Spurrier is the only coach and will change the Football program around again, winning like they were before he left. Come on Steve, We need you sir.