Sunday, November 27, 2011

Muschamp Fired After Arrest For Arson

Will Muschamp was arrested this afternoon on charges of arson. Six days after promising to burn down the beach house he and Jimbo Fisher co-own in Pensacola, Muschamp followed through on his promise. He was still at the scene of the fire when police and firemen arrived. Pensacola police officers say they found Muschamp standing motionless staring at the flames in an almost hypnotized state.

After pulling him away, they were able to snap him out of his trance and he immediately confessed to setting the house on fire. Officers say Muschamp was very cooperative.

"When we pulled him away, he was very calm, very loose. He spoke softly and answered every question we asked. He was extremely lucid. He seemed relieved by it all. He kept muttering to himself 'It's over. It's over. I said I'd do it and I did it.' There was something terrifying about seeing a guy who's usually very animated and yells and screams, all of a sudden be soft-spoken and tranquil." said officer Mark Wagner.

Muschamp was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol, but officers say they smelled gasoline on his breath and he acknowledged that he had in fact been drinking gasoline. An empty 32-oz. 7/11 cup that smelled like gas was found at the scene.

Firefighters were unable to save the home. Muschamp is facing 1st degree felony arson charges and if convicted is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley would not comment earlier, but has issued a statement effectively terminating Muschamp as head coach. The statement reads:
"Today's events are sad and disturbing. The actions of Will Muschamp are appalling and I have no choice as athletic director to relieve him of his duties as head coach of the University of Florida effective immediately. And yes, I am well aware of the irony in firing Muschamp for starting a fire, but this is not a joking matter and is something we take very seriously. We will move forward with Charlie Weis as our interim head coach. I will not comment further on this matter."
Reactions from players and coaches have ranged from shocked to expected. Safety Matt Elam was nonplussed when he heard the news of Muschamp's arrest. "He kept saying all week long he was going to burn the house down if we lost and I thought he was joking. I just laughed every time he said it and I was like, 'OK, coach. That's pretty funny.' But he actually did it. Wow. I just...I don't know what to say."

Defensive coordinator and friend Dan Quinn, however, was not surprised by Muschamp's actions. "I knew he wasn't joking. When he says he's going to do something, he does it. When we were coaching together with the Dolphins, we were playing Buffalo and he said if we held the Bills to under 10 points he would get a tattoo on his ass. He now has Toby Keith and RoboCop having a beer together on his right butt cheek."

Quinn said he tried to talk Muschamp out of doing it, but quickly found himself incapacitated after Muschamp sprayed him with pepper spray. "He was hellbent on burning that place down after last night's loss. I guess I don't blame him. I mean, did you see how we played last night?"

For the third season in a row, the Gators will prepare for their bowl game in the midst of a shaky coaching situation. Interim head coach Charlie Weis said his biggest job right now is keeping the current recruiting class together.

Although it is early to speculate, possible head coaching candidates could include Ron Prince, newly unemployed Ron Zook, Mike Leach, and don't rule out Weis, himself.