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Florida football coach Galen Hall resigns under pressure

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- University of Florida football coach Galen Hall, who inherited a probation-wracked program when he replaced Charley Pell in 1984, resigned Sunday after an NCAA probe revealed new violations.

Less than 24 hours after a dramatic 16-13 victory at Louisiana State that improved the Gators to 4-1, Hall was replaced on an interim basis by second-year defensive coordinator Gary Darnell.

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Hall went 8-0 after replacing Pell in 1984 and finished with a 39-17-1 mark in regular-season play. The Gators lost the 1987 Aloha Bowl to UCLA and beat Illinois in last year's All-American Bowl.

Florida's football program was slapped with a two-year probation in 1984 after being found guilty of numerous NCAA violations. Hall did not appear at Sunday's news conference, where interim university president Dr. Robert Bryan announced the resignation.

'I have accepted the resignation, effective today, of head football coach Galen Hall,' said Bryan. 'The detailed reasons for this resignation are set forth in his letter to me. In short, Coach Hall has conceded to me his personal involvement in 1987 in helping to solve the problems of a player, the details of which assistance are outlined in his letter; and the personal payment of unauthorized salary supplements to assistant coaches from 1986-89. All of these actions are in direct violation of NCAA rules; they were also clearly in breach of the responsibilities imposed upon him by his contract with the university.

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'This resignation results from an investigation jointly conducted by the NCAA and the university which began a number of monthsago. Our cooperation with the NCAA made sending a preliminary notice of inquiry unnecessary. That investigation continues. It involves both the football program and the basketball program. My mandate is that it be both searching and fearless, and that as it proceeds, verified violations will be brought to my attention for immediate action.'

In his letter of resignation, Hall outlined the reasons for his departure. Hall received a vote of confidence from the university last fall amid rumors of his imminent firing. Gator boosters have been vocal in their displeasure with Florida's play in recent years, but this year's team has won four straight after opening with a home loss to Mississippi.

'Dear Dr. Bryan, recently special council for the university together with investigative representatives of the NCAA discussed with me and my council various allegations relating to my actions as head coach,' said the university president, reading from Hall's letter. 'I acknowledge that I made the payments to both of the assistant coaches in question and further concede that the $4,000 payment was made in currency. Although these payments were entirely derived from my own funds, I acknowledge that I failed to report these matters to the athletic director or to secure his approval as required by my employment agreement and in apparent violation of NCAA rules.'

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Darnell, 40, was head coach at Tennessee Tech from 1983-85 before serving as inside linebacker coach and defensive coordinator at Wake Forest. He joined the Gators in 1988 and directed a defensive unit that ranked third nationally. This year's Gator defense was rated No. 1 in the nation entering the LSU game.

'Mr. Arnsbarger, our athletic director, has recommended the appointment of our defensive coordinator, Gary Darnell, as interim head coach and I have approved that appointment,' said Bryan. 'Earlier this evening, I spoke with our football team and with Coach Darnell. They have my full support and respect. This is an especially difficult time for them, and they deserve the support of all of us.'

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