ATHENS, Ga. (AP) _ Georgia football coach Jim Donnan was fired Monday after a 7-4 season that started with the Bulldogs ranked No. 10, a team source told The Associated Press.

The source, a player emerging from a team meeting and speaking on condition of anonymity, said Donnan told the Bulldogs he had been dismissed.

The university scheduled a late afternoon news conference to discuss the ``status of the UGA football program.''

Athletic director Vince Dooley had given Donnan a vote of confidence just last month, saying the coach would not be fired even though the Bulldogs had been picked to win the SEC East during the preseason.

Criticism of Donnan increased a week later, after Georgia Tech beat Georgia for the third straight year, the Bulldogs' longest losing streak in the bitter rivalry since the early 1960s.

A win over Georgia Tech would have put Georgia in position for a New Year's Day bowl game, but the loss left the Bulldogs in the Oahu Bowl against Virginia.

The 55-year-old Donnan, who came to Georgia for the 1996 season from Division I-AA Marshall, has been linked to coaching vacancies the past three years.

Donnan has a career record of 103-40, including 39-19 at Georgia. He has failed, however, against Georgia's biggest rivals, going 4-11 against Georgia Tech, Florida and Tennessee.

He rejected a five-year, $4.25-million offer from North Carolina in 1997, and was rumored to be a candidate the following season at Oklahoma, where he was a former assistant. The North Carolina job is open again after Carl Torbush was fired earlier this year.