Ron Zook, Florida, 2004
Record at the time: 4-3 (at time firing was announced)
What happened: The drop-off from Steve Spurrier to Zook was a steep one, and three years after taking over for the Head Ball Coach in Gainesville, Zook and his Gators no longer were contenders in the SEC. After a 38-31 loss to a bad Mississippi State team, the school announced Zook’s firing but said he would remain in place for the rest of the season. That didn’t exactly happen — by the time the team went to Atlanta for the Peach Bowl, Charlie Strong was in charge as interim coach. The Gators later hired Urban Meyer from Utah and won the national championship two seasons later.
Gerry DiNardo, LSU, 1999
Record at the time: 2-8
What happened: Eight-game losing streaks don’t happen often at LSU, but when they do, it’s a good bet that the skid will get the coach fired. That’s what happened to DiNardo, who had success after arriving from Vanderbilt but dropped off badly in his fourth year and even more in his fifth. A 20-7 home loss to Houston was the result that prompted the administration to pull the trigger and name assistant Hal Hunter as the interim coach for the final game against Arkansas. The Tigers won that one 35-10, then went out in the offseason and hired Michigan State’s Nick Saban. That decision paid dividends.
Jack Crowe, Arkansas, 1992
Record at the time: 0-1
What happened: The Razorbacks opened their first season of SEC football with a result that’s about as embarrassing as it gets — a home defeat to Division I-AA The Citadel. That proved to be the last game for Crowe at Arkansas. Though it originally was said that Crowe had resigned, it eventually emerged that he had been fired by athletic director Frank Broyles. Interim coach Joe Kines took over the rest of the way, going 3-6-1, and former Clemson coach Danny Ford was hired as the successor after the year.
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