Mullen leaving MSU for Florida

Florida has hired Mississippi State's Dan Mullen as its next football coach, bringing back the guy who helped turned Tim Tebow into a star.

Posted: Nov 26, 2017 11:47 PM
Updated: Nov 27, 2017 12:16 AM

5:24 pm

Statement from Mississippi State University athletics director John Cohen:

"Earlier today, Dan Mullen informed me that he accepted the job as the next head football coach at the University of Florida. In their nine years here, Dan and Megan have been wonderful ambassadors to Mississippi State University and the entire city of Starkville. From climbing to the No. 1 ranking in 2014 to a school-record eight straight bowl appearances, Dan has taken Mississippi State Football to unprecedented heights. With success comes the opportunity to be pursued by others. We were proactive in doing everything we could to try to keep him as our coach. On behalf of the entire Mississippi State Family, we wish Dan and Megan all the best."

"I informed the team this afternoon that running backs coach and special teams coordinator Greg Knox will serve as the interim head coach for our bowl game. Greg has coached in the Southeastern Conference for over 20 years. We are excited about playing in our school-record eighth consecutive bowl game against a quality opponent. Our senior class has a chance to tie the 2015 and 1942 teams as the winningest senior class in Mississippi State history."

"We have already begun a national search to identify our 33rd head football coach. Since 2014, Mississippi State Football has risen to national prominence. Our Bulldog Family is as passionate and loyal a fan base as there is in the nation. They have transformed Davis Wade Stadium into an intimidating venue among the loudest in college football. We have bright young men who proudly represent our program every day in the classroom, community and on the field. We return a tremendous roster of young talent. We seek someone who will continue us on our path to competing for championships and developing our student-athletes both on and off the field."

"As we turn the page to write a new chapter in Mississippi State Football, our momentum is stronger than ever. We are confident we will find an outstanding new leader to carry that momentum forward. Hail State."
5:22 pm

Statement from Mississippi State University president Mark Keenum:

“We’ve built a football program at Mississippi State that has enjoyed unprecedented success over the last nine seasons. Dan Mullen has been the catalyst of that success and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors. It’s a tribute to Dan and to MSU that he has drawn the interest of several premier football programs around the country. Dan’s tenure at MSU coincides with my own and we’ve had a chance to do some special things together for our loyal fans and friends.

“In anticipation of this development, MSU has already begun the process of an orderly and expeditious transition to new and exciting leadership for our football program. I have shared my vision with Athletics Director John Cohen and I am confident that John will move quickly and decisively to fill our coaching vacancy with the best possible person to build on the success of our program.”

5:10 pm

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida has hired Mississippi State's Dan Mullen as its next football coach, bringing back the guy who helped turned Tim Tebow into a star.

The Gators will announce the deal later Sunday, a person familiar with the search told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because Mullen had not told his team. Mullen is expected to address players in Starkville, Mississippi, before the hire becomes official.

Spurned by Chip Kelly and seemingly unwilling to risk waiting for UCF's Scott Frost to possibly do the same, Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin turned to Mullen. Stricklin and Mullen worked together in Starkville from 2009 to 2016. Stricklin was Mississippi State's athletic director for seven of those years.

Mullen previously spent four years (2005-08) as Florida's offensive coordinator and won two national championships while guiding Tebow to the top of the school record books.

The Gators have mostly sputtered on offense since.

Stricklin vowed to make Florida fun again when he parted ways with coach Jim McElwain last month. For a week, it looked like Kelly might pacify a frustrated fan base. But Kelly chose UCLA over Florida on Saturday, and Stricklin was left to look elsewhere.

He made the safe choice, one that won't be wildly popular with the Florida faithful.

Still, the 45-year-old Mullen has a resume that's hard to ignore. He has 13 years of experience in the rugged Southeastern Conference, knows Florida well, has recruited in the Sunshine State and led the Bulldogs to a bowl game for a school-record eight consecutive years. He is 5-2 in bowls.

He clearly overachieved at Mississippi State, which had lost at least eight games in seven of the eight seasons before Mullen's arrival.

Mullen spent nine years in Starkville, posting a 69-46 record that included a 33-39 mark in SEC play. He is second on the school's all-time coaching win list behind Jackie Sherrill.

Mullen is best known for developing quarterbacks. He played a substantial role in the college careers of Alex Smith (Utah), Tebow (Florida), Dak Prescott (Mississippi State) and current Mississippi State starter Nick Fitzgerald.

Mullen's best season was 2014, when the Prescott-led Bulldogs were the No. 1 team in the country for five straight weeks before losing to Alabama. Mississippi State also was the No. 1 team in the inaugural College Football Playoff rankings.

Mullen inherits a Florida team that lacks a capable quarterback and has its worst scoring defense since 1946.

The Gators have depth issues across the board, lack offensive playmakers and were so thin defensively that a former walk-on linebacker played significant snaps.

Suspensions and injuries are partly to blame. But poor recruiting and a failure to develop youngsters — quarterback Feleipe Franks being a prime example — also played a role in the team going from two-time Eastern Division champion to missing a bowl game for the second time in 27 years.

Still, Florida remains one of the more attractive jobs in college football.

The Gators have a fervent fan base, have one of the nation's top operating budgets ($125 million in 2017-18) and have more than $100 million in facility upgrades planned, including breaking ground on a state-of-the-art structure to house the football program. Throw in being surrounded by some of the top recruiting strongholds in the country, and Florida seems poised for a quick fix.

Original story

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - Florida is reportedly finalizing a deal with Dan Mullen to be the next head coach, according to multuple outlets.

Yahoo Sports and ESPN have reported Mullen to be the Gator's choice.

According to a Yahoo Sports report, a decision is expected by the end of the day on Sunday.

Mullen has been with the Bulldogs for nine years and is 69-46.

Former Mississippi State Athletic Director Scott Sticklin is now Athletic Director at Florida and has reportedly been in contact with Mullen about the position.

Mullen won two national championships at Florida as offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer.

Article Comments

Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 64°
67° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 67°
64° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 64°
64° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 64°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather