While the Tennessee Volunteers’ efforts to finalize a deal with their new head coach have gone horribly awry, with fans and state representatives widely rejecting their reported hire of Greg Schiano, the Florida Gators’ process went much smoother.
The Gators made the official announcement on Sunday night that they had hired Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen to be their new head man, replacing Jim McElwain who was fired midseason. Mullen returns to Florida after nearly a decade away in Starkville. From 2005 to 2008, Mullen was the Gators’ offensive coordinator, including in their two national championship seasons. If nothing else, Steve Spurrier is excited about the hire.
Mullen compiled a 69-46 record in his tenure at Mississippi State, including a stunning 2014 campaign in which his squad, led by Dak Prescott, won 10 games. The Gators are hoping that Mullen’s track record of developing strong college quarterbacks (dating back to his years with Urban Meyer at Utah and Bowling Green prior to working with Tim Tebow at Florida and Prescott at Mississippi State) can follow him back to Gainesville.
The Gators have yet to find a quality quarterback in the post-Tebow era, with McElwain and Will Muschamp both failing to find much offensive success in the years after Meyer’s departure. Mullen will take over a Florida team that finished 2017 with a 4-7 record after losing its final game to rival Florida State, 38-22, on Saturday. That means the faithful in Gainesville will likely need to give him some time before heaping lofty expectations on their new coach.