Florida fires women’s soccer coach Tony Amato after 1 season

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida fired women’s soccer coach Tony Amato on Wednesday, changing direction less than one year after giving him a six-year contract to replace beloved program architect Becky Burleigh.

A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that Amato was fired without cause, leaving the Gators on the hook for the remaining five years of a contract that paid him about $225,000 annually. The person spoke on condition of anonymity...

READ MORE

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida fired women’s soccer coach Tony Amato on Wednesday, changing direction less than one year after giving him a six-year contract to replace beloved program architect Becky Burleigh.

A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that Amato was fired without cause, leaving the Gators on the hook for the remaining five years of a contract that paid him about $225,000 annually. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither side has confirmed what led to Amato’s dismissal.

Athletic director Scott Stricklin blamed “a disconnect” between Amato and his athletes as the reason for his dismissal.

“We have worked diligently with Tony since last fall when I first became aware of challenges with relationship building and communication,” Stricklin said in a statement. “As the issues continued to be brought to my attention, it became apparent that sufficient progress was not being made and Tony was not a fit for the University of Florida.

“Therefore, it is my assessment that in order to have the program we all expect, this change is necessary. I appreciate Tony’s hard work during his time here and wish he and his family the best.”

Amato went 4-12-4 in his lone season with the Gators. He was hired May 24, 2021. He previously coached at Rollins (2003-04, 2009-10), Stephen F. Austin (2010-11, 2012-13) and Arizona (2013-14, 2020-21).

Amato’s dismissal is the latest public relations hit for Stricklin, who has now essentially fired three of the first four coaches he hired since replacing longtime AD Jeremy Foley.

He allowed women’s basketball coach Cam Newbauer to resign last spring amid allegations he verbally, mentally and physically abused players for years, and he fired football coach Dan Mullen last November after Mullen landed the Gators on probation for the first time in three decades.

“I fully recognize the disruption this causes our athletes and our program,” Stricklin said. “We all wanted this to work, but ultimately it is my responsibility to do what is in the best long-term interest of this program, and thus this decision.

“We are totally committed to having an outstanding soccer program. I assure everyone this is extremely important to all of us as we begin the search for our new coach.”

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © 2022 . All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.