Florida set to hire Dan Mullen as next head football coach

By Adam Silverstein
November 26, 2017
Florida set to hire Dan Mullen as next head football coach
Football

Image Credit: ESPN Images

The hysteria of the Florida Gators coaching search has come to an end with a familiar name on his way back to Gainesville, Florida. Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen has agreed to become the next Gators coach, according to college football insider Brett McMurphy, the Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson and the Associated Press.

Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reports that Florida contacted Mullen for the first time on Friday after Mississippi State fell to Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. Two sources have told OnlyGators.com that a deal with Mullen is “imminent” and final negotiations are taking place as we speak. An announcement is expected early Sunday evening.

Though the Gators apparently had both free agent Chip Kelly and UCF head coach Scott Frost higher on their priority list, Thamel reported that “both indicated better fits may be available at a place other than a high-profile SEC school.” This coincides with much of what has been reported about this hiring process with Kelly feeling UCLA (a Pac-12 school in a less-pressurized environment) and Frost feeling Nebraska (his alma mater in a similar state) are simply more fitting opportunities.

In luring Mullen, Florida not only brings back its former two-time national championship-winning offensive coordinator under head coach Urban Meyer, it takes away Tennessee’s top candidate to fill its coaching position. The Vols have targeted Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano but are experiencing massive fan backlash following the leaked hire.

Mullen brings a lot to the table for the Gators, including being a now-proven program builder and quarterback-developer, two things Florida has sorely missed since Meyer’s departure.

Many felt Mullen would have joined the Gators when the Florida job opened for the second time since Meyer’s departure in 2015, but then-athletic director Jeremy Foley never reached out to gauge his interest and quickly eliminated him as a candidate. Unlike Foley, current AD Scott Stricklin feels confident about his working relationship with Mullen as Stricklin was the former Mississippi State AD during the football program’s greatest rise.

Mullen brought the Bulldogs to No. 1 in the first-ever College Football Playoff Rankings back in 2014. His .605 winning percentage is greater than any MSU coach since 1953, and he’s accomplished that without signing a recruiting class ranked higher than 18th nationally in his entire tenure dating back to 2009.

In addition to developing Alex Smith into the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft out of Utah, he coached Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, current Dallas Cowboys star signal caller Dak Prescott, the 2016 NFL Rookie of the Year.

Mississippi State has finished with eight wins or more in five of Mullen’s nine seasons and gone 5-2 in bowl games with another coming up in 2017. Though the Bulldogs have only finished with a winning SEC record once in his nine years, they have been competing against a loaded SEC West during his entire tenure with the program.

OnlyGators.com will continue updating this breaking news story shortly.

8 Comments

  1. Palmer says:

    I really hope Dan Mullen is our guy. He has done such a great job at Miss. State. And, he has a proven offensive record at Fla. He’s an Offensive coach; who has developed great quarterbacks & proven head coach success in the SEC.
    Perfect !!!!!!

  2. Mg says:

    I am a 35 year booster and season ticket holder. Feel free to tell Scott Stricklin if he hires Mullen I will not donate and buy tickets

    • senuod says:

      Why this level of dislike?

      • Michael L. Jones says:

        Don’t hold your breath waiting for a rational response. Mg donated and sat through the mediocrity of the Muschamp and McElwain years but is tapping out before Mullen has coached his first game? Do we really need to know any more than that about the level of intelligence behind a comment like that?
        A real Gator donates because he loves the school, not because he’s presumptuous and self-important enough to think it buys him a seat at the coach selection table. I’ve wanted Mullen since before the Muschamp hire, but I didn’t stop supporting my school because I didn’t get my way.
        There’s more like Mg out there. Let’em throw their temper tantrums. They’ll come back with their tails tucked between their legs when Coach Mullen starts winning championships.
        Go Gators!!!

  3. Bert M. says:

    Would love for this to happen! Mullen was my number 1 choice the minute after Mac was let go…I think Coach Mullen is a proven SEC coach and will be a great fit with Gator Nation!

  4. Greg Norris says:

    It feels like Florida is circling the drain. This will not stop it!

  5. senuod says:

    Here’s to hoping this one works out! His QB development alone would hopefully make a huge difference.

  6. Michael Jones says:

    Finally. He has always been the best fit, dating back to the Muschamp hire. We just got a lot better.

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