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College football

Gators coach Zook fired but will finish season

By Associated Press
Published October 25, 2004

GAINESVILLE - Florida Gators coach Ron Zook was fired Monday but will be allowed to finish the season, athletic director Jeremy Foley said.

Foley and University of Florida President Bernie Machen met Sunday and informed Zook of the decision Monday morning, the Gainesville Sun reported on its Web site.

Calls to Foley were not immediately returned Monday.

The move comes after Florida (4-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) lost 38-31 on Saturday to Mississippi State, which only had one win coming into the game as the worst team in the SEC.

It was Florida's 13th loss in three seasons under Zook, who was hired in 2002 to replace Steve Spurrier, who led Florida to a national championship in 1996.

Zook went 8-5 in his first two years at Florida. The Gators started 4-3 in 2002 before reeling off four straight victories. They opened 3-3 in 2003 - sparking speculation he would be fired - but then won five in a row.

Problems had been mounting for Zook, who was not the popular choice when he was hired and was the inspiration for a Web site calling for his dismissal.

[Last modified October 25, 2004, 11:20:10]


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