University of Florida Hiring Dan Mullen Is A Consolation Prize

The University of Florida made a big full-court press to get Chip Kelly to be their new head coach. However, once it became apparent that he would not sign and move onto UCLA, they had to go out and get the next best hire on their list. They did so in Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen.

When Chip Kelly reportedly picked the UCLA job this past Saturday over an offer from the University of Florida, the Gators lost out on a huge chance to make that “headline-grabbing” hire. However, they rebounded nicely the following day, in signing former Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen. Mullen may turn out to be the better hire of the two, given his track record in the ultra competitive SEC.

He had a very productive stint as Florida’s offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. Mullen had followed Meyer from Utah, where he helped mold quarterback Alex Smith into the 2005 NFL draft’s No. 1 overall pick. The Gators’ offense clicked each year under Mullen tutelage. They never averaged less than 28.6 points per game, winning two national titles, and they averaged well over 40 points per game in 2007 and 2008 in Florida. He also tutored and molded star quarterbacks Chris Leak and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow.

Mullen Has A Proven Track Record

Upon his move to Mississippi State, Mullen led the Bulldogs to a 69-46 record, plus a 5-2 mark in bowl games. Before Mullen’s arrival in 2009, Mississippi State had seasons with at least eight losses in seven of the previous eight years. In 2014, with Dak Prescott at quarterback, Mullen’s Bulldogs enjoyed a five-week stint as the nation’s No. 1-ranked team. He won coach of the year honors from the SEC and the Maxwell Football Club.

Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin, in his announcement, stated he believed that Mullen is the most ready candidate to have immediate and long-term success at the University of Florida. Since Meyer left Florida in 2010, the school has annually underachieved on offense, and the big reason for Mullen’s hire was to jump-start that issue.

Mullen, in his acceptance of the Gators’ position, stated he had many great memories of the championships we won during his first tenure there, and will give nothing short of a full and relentless effort in everything the Gators do going forward. One has to think that the Gators “consolidation prize” may well be the best pick of them all.

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Nick Ficorelli
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