|1978 Florida Gators football|
|1978 record||4–7 (3–3 SEC)|
|Defensive coordinator||Doug Knotts (9th season)|
|Home stadium||Florida Field|
|1978 Southeastern Conference football standings|
|No. 1 Alabama $||6||–||0||–||0||11||–||1||–||0|
|No. 16 Georgia||5||–||0||–||1||9||–||2||–||1|
Rankings from AP Poll
The 1978 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida during the 1978 NCAA Division I-A football season. The season was Doug Dickey's ninth and last year as the head coach of the Florida Gators football team. The 1978 Florida Gators finished with a 4–7 overall record and a 3–3 Southeastern Conference (SEC) record, tying for fourth among ten SEC teams. After a disappointing 1977 season, Dickey had been under pressure to shake up his coaching staff, and he decided to abandon the run-oriented wishbone offense his teams had used for several seasons in favor of a more pro-style system. Former Florida quarterback Steve Spurrier, who had lived in Gainesville since wrapping up his NFL career in 1976, was tapped by Dickey to be the Gators' quarterback coach, his first coaching job.
However, without the proper talent to run the new scheme, Florida's 1978 scoring output was almost identical to 1977's output – about 22 points per game. Florida struggled with consistency, never winning consecutive games, losing to traditional rivals Georgia and Florida State, and enduring their first losing season since 1971. Days before the final game, Dickey (along with Spurrier and the rest of the coaching staff) were told by University of Florida president Robert Q. Marston that they would be let go after the season. Days after the season finale, Florida announced that Clemson coach Charlie Pell had been hired to coach the Gators.
|September 16||vs. SMU*||L 25–35||34,101|
|September 30||Mississippi State||W 34–0||48,597|
|October 7||No. 11 LSU||L 21–34||55,457|
|October 14||at No. 7 Alabama||L 12–23||60,210|
|October 21||Army*||W 31–7||57,625|
|October 28||at Georgia Tech*||ABC||L 13–17||44,866|
|November 4||Auburn||W 31–7||59,343|
|November 11||vs. No. 11 Georgia||L 22–24||68,232|
|November 18||at Kentucky||W 18–16||56,500|
|November 25||at Florida State*||L 21–38||48,432|
|December 2||Miami (FL)*||L 21–22||47,015|
Primary source: 2015 Florida Gators Football Media Guide
Attendance figures: Florida Football '79 (media guide).
After leaving Florida, Dickey went into private business for several years before becoming the athletic director of the University of Tennessee's Volunteers sports program in 1985. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2003. After a dozen years spent as an offensive assistant and head coach in college football and the USFL, Spurrier would return to become Florida's head coach in 1990.
- Sports Publicity Department. "1978 University of Florida Press Guide" (PDF). floridagators.com. University Athletic Association, Inc. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
- 2015 Florida Gators Football Media Guide Archived 2015-12-08 at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, p. 107 (2015). Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- UPI (20 November 1978). "No Title so Florida Gives Ax to Dickey". The Evening Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- "UF Fans can thank Vol's AD for Spurrier". Orlando Sentinel. 29 November 2001. Archived from the original on 29 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- Golenbock, Go Gators!, p. 438
- Cobb, Mike (6 December 1978). "UF Unveils Pell as New Head Football Coach". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- Sports Publicity Department. "Florida Football '79" (PDF). floridagators.com. University Athletic Association, Inc. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
- "Doug Dickey". College Football Hall of Fame. Football Foundation. Retrieved September 17, 2010.