Gainesville, Fla.— Many fans throughout Gator Nation were angered yesterday upon the news of Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen being targeted as the next head coach at the University of Florida. And I must admit, I was one of them (at first). I didn’t love the hire. It smelled. It said to me, “Scott Stricklin had to settle for safe”, “He over-played his hand with Chip Kelly and now he had to heave a Hail Mary and hoped it got caught”.
Well, I sat down, cleared my head and played scenarios over in my head of why I didn’t love the hire of Dan Mullen. And with each reason I came up with why I didn’t like it, I kept coming up with 2 more reasons why I did like it. I was actually reasoning with myself. And after some time spent, not only do I like the hire, I absolutely LOVE the hire. Think about this…
Dan Mullen had Mississippi State No. 1 in the country for more than a month in 2014. This is in college football…. Not baseball, softball, women’s soccer, or golf. The Bulldogs of Mississippi State, with an exciting junior quarterback named Dak Prescott, were the No. 1 team in the nation when the very first college football playoff rankings were released. They only dropped from the top spot when they lost on the road by 5 points to some no-named school called Alabama.
Oh, and by the way, Dan Mullen was the offensive coordinator at Florida, under Urban Meyer, from 2005-08, when the Gators won two national championships and developed some guy named Tim Tebow who ended up winning the Heisman and is arguably the greatest quarterback in college football history. Mullen did the same magic with Urban Meyer at Utah from 2002-04, helping lead the Utes to a 12-0 season, a BCS Bowl win and helped get quarterback Alex Smith to be drafted first overall (ahead of a guy named Aaron Rodgers). A successful, gifted offensive coach, who is good at developing QB’s, with prior experience at Florida. Why can’t people see this? Ok, take a step back and realize this….
Dan Mullen was in his ninth year at Mississippi State. If you take his first year out of the equation (considering Florida in 2009 were the defending national champions and Mississippi State was coming off a 4-8 season), this is the truth.
Mississippi State, yes Mississippi State in Starkeville, Mississippi (The Bulldogs used to be everyone’s homecoming game) has been better than Florida this decade. More overall wins, more bowl game appearances, more times ranked #1, more bowl wins. All while the Bulldogs have been in the far tougher SEC West while the Gators have been in the increasingly weaker SEC East.
Remember, Dan Mullen has done this with (according to the recruiting rankings) inferior talent to what Florida has had. If there needs to be icing on this cake, Scott Stricklin was Dan Mullen’s boss for 6 years at Mississippi State. They know each other and have a good working relationship (by all accounts).
There really is no better, proven coach at the highest level, who checks off all of the boxes of what the football coach at the University of Florida needs be. It’s Dan Mullen.
A little nugget for you: Florida’s administration has wasted seven years and over $50 million since Urban Meyer left in 2010 in failed coaching hires. They could not get it wrong this time. And with Dan Mullen, they got it right.
Welcome home, Dan Mullen. We’ve needed you.