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Zook fired, will finish season

Fired Florida football coach Ron Zook pauses while thanking his players Monday.
Fired Florida football coach Ron Zook pauses while thanking his players Monday.
Jay Conner, Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — 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.

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."

Foley planned to talk with Spurrier soon but said he won't discuss the opening with coaches with jobs until after the season.

Machen and Foley decided Sunday morning that Zook's tenure was over. They informed the coach Monday morning at Machen's home.