After one season, Florida soccer head coach Tony Amato has been dismissed from the team. The move comes after multiple players came forward with complaints about Amato and his treatment of the players, as first reported by Fresh Take Florida.
Since athletic director Scott Stricklin hired Amato in May 2021, 17 players have stepped away from the team or entered the transfer portal. Official complaints began as early as October when a signed letter from players and staff was presented to the UAA compliance office. The UAA offered a group therapy session in response. Amato did not attend the session.
“My thorough evaluation of the soccer program is that there is a disconnect between Tony and his athletes,” Stricklin said. “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.”
Anonymous players told WUFT that Amato made remarks about players’ eating and physical appearance even with knowledge that some players on his roster have struggled with eating disorders. Players at Arizona, where Amato held the head coaching position prior to UF, reported similar events.
With Amato at the helm, the Gators went 4-12-4 this past season, the worst record in program history. Florida will pay Amato’s $1.04 Million base salary through 2027.
The firing comes less than a year after the departure of former women’s basketball coach Cam Newbauer, who was also hired by Stricklin. Players under Newbauer had similar complaints of misconduct in a report from the Alligator. Sticklin has now handled the departure of four head coaches in one year.
“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.”