University of Florida

UF players ‘devastated’ over coach Will Muschamp firing

Florida head coach Will Muschamp looks up at the clock during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Missouri won 42-13.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp looks up at the clock during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Missouri won 42-13. AP

Will Muschamp had a gut feeling he would be fired Sunday morning.

Florida’s players figured it was coming, too.

Still, when the official word leaked, the reality of the moment hit.

“It’s just a heart-breaking situation,” senior center Max Garcia said, who found out via an ESPN phone alert while in church.

“All the players in the locker room feel the same way. We’re all devastated that this is happening, but we understand the situation. We understand that we have to produce and win games on the field. That’s the bottom line.”

Several Gators openly shared their love for Muschamp, calling him “a father figure” and “a great mentor.”

“It just speaks to Will’s character as a man that he can touch each individual on a level deeper than football,” senior right tackle Chaz Green said.

“I think this shows in these last couple of weeks that given the circumstances everybody feels heartbroken that we’ve lost a mentor figure in our lives, not just a football coach.”

Despite the team’s struggles on the field, players reflected on Muschamp’s impact, acknowledging he developed them from boys to men.

“That’s what made him a great coach. He has developed us as people, not just as players,” Garcia said.

“We all wish him the best. We’re all going to be rooting for him. I don’t think there’s anyone on this team that would say anything negative about Coach Muschamp.”

The Gators are determined to send Muschamp out on a high note Saturday against Eastern Kentucky, his final game coaching in The Swamp.

“We’re playing for each other. We’re playing for Muschamp,” Garcia said. “We’re playing for the Gator Nation. Nothing’s changed.”

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