UF fires McMahon
Published: Thursday, June 7, 2007 at 4:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 7, 2007 at 4:17 p.m.
Jeremy Foley lost his confidence in Pat McMahon. And that ultimately led to McMahon's dismissal from Florida.
McMahon's six-year career as Florida's head baseball coach came to an end Thursday afternoon when he was fired by the Gators.
"When you lose confidence in a situation," Foley said. "It's hard to get it back."
McMahon led Florida to unprecedented heights, but also new lows after arriving Mississippi State in 2001.
McMahon led the Gators to their first two Super Regional berths and their first National Championship Series appearance during the 2005 College World Series.
The Gators, however, failed to capitalize on that success. Florida went just 57-58 and failed to make the NCAA regionals the past two seasons.
"If you look at the last two years we've taken a step back," Foley said. "And that goes back to that confidence issue I was eluding to."
McMahon was not available for comment and did not return a message left on his cell phone Thursday evening. He did, however, release a statement through UF.
"Our athletics director has decided to move our baseball program in a different direction," the statement read. "I am extremely disappointed. I know in my heart that I have given every fiber of my body to run all areas of the program in a first-class manner with the highest principles."
Foley said McMahon was understandably upset.
"He didn't agree with the decision," Foley said. "I didn't expect him to. It's understandable there was a great deal of disappointment. But Pat's a pro."
McMahon, 54, was under contract through the 2010 season, a deal that paid him about $160,000 annually. Just last year, he was contacted by LSU and Notre Dame in regards to their head coaching vacancy's, but told the schools he was happy at Florida.
His Gator career would end on May 25 when Florida was eliminated from the SEC Tournament. McMahon then held his postseason evaluation meeting with Foley on May 31 after Foley returned from the SEC meetings in Destin.
Foley told McMahon to come back Wednesday with a vision for Florida's future. The two met Wednesday, Foley contemplated his decision Wednesday night, and a decision was reached Thursday afternoon.
"I asked Pat to come in and give a vision for where we were headed," Foley said. "I wanted a vision. And candidly, when I evaluated everything, at the end of the day, the confidence that this was going to turn around, I didn't have it."
McMahon's firing came as somewhat of a surprise as news spread Thursday. Two-time SEC player of the year, Matt LaPorta, expressed shock when he learned of McMahon's firing over the phone.
"I love that guy," LaPorta said. "He's been there for me through everything, good and bad. He's a great person, always has been. I love him. It's a shame."
Foley understands his decision may prompt some criticism. Some were curious when Foley fired Andy Lopez in 2001 after Lopez had just led the Gators to the NCAA regionals.
"When you make a change like this people will agree with you and people will disagree with you," Foley said. "Especially when you're dealing with someone as great as Pat McMahon."
Foley will now move forward in a search of Florida's next coach. A few names that may emerge as candidates are Virginia coach Brian O'Connor, Kentucky coach John Cohen, a former UF assistant, and Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin.
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