Florida coach Galen Hall, rumored to be on the hot seat because of his team's so-so performance on the field, instead got the ax for admitted rules violations.
"We made this move because the man violated his contract and committed major violations of NCAA rules," Robert Bryan, the university's interim president, said during a news conference Sunday night. "We cannot allow him to coach."Bryan said Hall had acknowledged last Monday that he broke NCAA rules. By last Friday, the university's lawyers had negotiated the terms of his resignation, which include $65,000 in severance pay.
Hall, who became coach in 1984 when a recruiting scandal prompted the firing of Charley Pell, will be replaced by Gary Darnell, the Gators' defensive coordinator. Darnell inherits a team that, with a 4-1 record, had gone a long way to quiet the critics who were carping about Hall's performance on the field.
Hall officially resigned amid allegations he made improper payments to assistant coaches from 1986-88 and to a player two years ago.
"This is not a rogue university," Bryan said. "But we contracted a disease in the early 1980s that my predecessor, Marshall Criser, almost broke his heart trying to cure. But I guarantee to all who are interested in the university that it will be cured."
Hall, 49, came under fire in 1988 when the Gators lost five of their last six games to finish the regular season with a 6-5 record for the third straight year. He began 1989 amid speculation that Florida was already looking for a replacement and that the Gators would have to win at least eight games to save his job.
The one-time Oklahoma assistant got the Florida job because he was the highest-ranking member of Pell's staff who was not linked to NCAA violations. He finished with a 40-18-1 mark and said he and his staff had "worked hard to maintain strict compliance" with rules.