South Carolina fires Will Muschamp after 2-5 start

South Carolina is the first Power Five program to make a coaching change in 2020.

The school fired Will Muschamp on Sunday night after the Gamecocks lost 59-42 at Ole Miss on Saturday to fall to 2-5 on the season. The loss included Ole Miss QB Matt Corral throwing for a school-record 513 yards and Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin celebrating an Ole Miss TD before Corral had even thrown the ball.

“After a thorough assessment of our football program, we have decided to make a change with the head football coach,” South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner said in a statement. “I appreciate all that Will Muschamp has done for our program and wish him and his family the best moving forward. I believe our program will be well served by [offensive coordinator Mike Bobo] as the interim head coach as we search for a new leader for Gamecock Football.”

The loss was the Gamecocks’ third straight. South Carolina has given up 159 points in those three losses.

The Gamecocks went 9-4 in Muschamp’s second season in 2017, but they have regressed since then. The team won seven games in 2018, four games in 2019 and a 3-7 record in 2020 will be considered an accomplishment after the 2-5 start.

Muschamp was hired at South Carolina after a year as Auburn’s defensive coordinator in 2015. He spent that season at Auburn after he was fired at Florida. Muschamp was Florida’s head coach for over three seasons and fired after the team fell to 6-5 in 2014.

Much like at South Carolina, Muschamp’s best season with the Gators came in his second season. UF was 11-2 in 2012. The Gators were 4-8 in 2013 and were a game over .500 before Muschamp was fired in 2014.

Muschamp ends his South Carolina tenure with a 28-30 record and has a 56-51 record overall.

Mike Bobo will be the interim head coach. He is in his first year as South Carolina’s offensive coordinator. The former Georgia offensive coordinator was Colorado State’s head coach before he was hired at USC.

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp heads to check on an injured player during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Bruce Newman)
South Carolina coach Will Muschamp has been fired. (AP Photo/Bruce Newman)

Will Muschamp’s hefty buyout

Firing Muschamp is an expensive proposition for the Gamecocks.

Muschamp is owed a $13 million buyout on his contract. That’s a big number for any athletic department in a normal time. And 2020 is not a normal time with myriad athletic departments cutting costs in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. South Carolina really must have seen enough as Ole Miss shredded the Gamecocks on Saturday night.

Corral said after the game that the Rebels knew what defenses South Carolina would be running before the ball was snapped. That’s a problem for any coach. Especially for a coach with a defensive pedigree like Muschamp.

South Carolina has Missouri, Georgia and Kentucky remaining on its 2020 schedule. The Gamecocks could be underdogs in all three of those games.

– – – – – – –

Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

More from Yahoo Sports: