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Florida fires Ron Zook

Oct. 25, 2004 at 5:07 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Oct. 25 (UPI) -- University of Florida football Coach Ron Zook was fired Monday and will leave the team at the end of the season, the school announced.

Athletic Director Jeremy Foley said the school will pay the 50-year-old Zook $450,000 each year for the four years remaining in his contract.

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"I take pride in the fact that we leave this program in very good shape, with a lot of good young talent and good people," Zook said.

"The future of Gator football is very bright. Right now, the most important thing for me is to spend time getting my team ready to play a very good Georgia team. The players deserve that. The fans deserve that."

Boosters have been clamoring for Zook's ouster throughout his tenure.

Zook's detractors became more vocal after Saturday's stunning 38-31 loss at lowly Mississippi State, which was just 1-5 before the upset.

Florida was 8-5 in each of Zook's first two years, and lost in the Outback Bowl both seasons.

He succeeded Steve Spurrier, who left in 2001 to coach the NFL's Washington Redskins, a job he since has left. Spurrier is now unemployed.

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