Florida close to hiring coach from another SEC school

Nov 27, 2017, 00:48
Florida close to hiring coach from another SEC school

The Florida Gators are targeting Mississippi State's Dan Mullen as its next head football coach, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo! The 45-year old served as offensive coordinator for the Gators under Urban Meyer from 2005-08 and won two national championships in Gainesville.

You may remember Mullen for that time he flubbed his way through an explanation of Mississippi State's handling of five-star recruit Jeffrey Simmons, who'd been videotaped beating the hell out of woman and was subsequently suspended for one measly game.

In 2010, Mississippi State earned its first No. 1 overall ranking in program history and finished with a 10-3 (6-2 SEC) overall record, earning Mullen several coaching honors including the AP and Athlon SEC Coach of the Year awards and the Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year award. Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin, who was Mullen's former boss at MSU, knows enough about him from hands-on experience to decide whether he's a good fit.

Mullen is 69-46 in nine seasons at Mississippi State, with an 8-4 record heading into a bowl game this year. But he did a commendable job in Starkville, especially when you see the progress quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald made on his watch.

Mullen recently completed his ninth regular season as a head coach in the SEC and is familiar with the intense pressure from the Gators' fan base.

Stricklin's move for Mullen likely goes beyond familiarity. They reportedly backed away from the quest for Kelly several days ago, to focus on UCF's Scott Frost, but per a report from USA Today's Dan Wolken, Frost himself decided not to entertain the Gators' overtures. But Frost through his representatives apparently declined interest in UF job.

Mullen made the most sense in the days after McElwain's October 29 ouster, but he was an unpopular candidate to many in Gator Nation who sought a splash hire. Florida was one of Chip Kelly's two considerations along with UCLA.

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