QBs coach a real mover and shaker

Dan Mullen, who is also the offensive coordinator, redefines the word busy.

Florida offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Mullen talks with quarterback Josh Portis at spring practice.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, July 4, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, July 4, 2005 at 12:44 a.m.

Think Urban Meyer is busy, with all his speaking engagements and recruiting and coaching and playbooks?

Meet Florida offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Mullen, who is on a mission to redefine the word busy.

Never mind the coaching duties and the fact that Mullen has moved four times in the past five years. Mullen is getting married.

"It's been absolute insanity," said Mullen, dreading the preparation for today's wedding. "Everything's insane."

Consider his last weekend alone. After scrambling with preparations in Gainesville, Mullen drove to meet fiancée Megan at Orlando on Saturday night. After the Golf Channel employee finished her weekend's work, the couple began driving to Pittsburgh (the wedding site) through Sunday night.

On Monday, they secured a marriage license. Then Mullen left for New Hampshire, where he would see his family for the first time in three years.

Life has proven a track meet for Mullen, who doesn't even remember how long it's been since he met Megan, a former NBC anchor in Toledo, Ohio, while he was coaching at Bowling Green.

"(All the years) blur together," Mullen said.

Which will make his upcoming honeymoon in Greece that much more satisfying.

"You've got to refresh your brain and refresh your motor for the end of the season because once you come back, you're on full-go getting ready to kick off a season," Mullen said.

The motivator

When you think Mullen the coach, you have to think motivator. Mullen, like much of the new coaching staff, is not afraid to prod his players with an occasional bellow, yet soothe with a pat on the back. It's part of his philosophy on coaching; a philosophy that he critiques by welcoming suggestions from the other coaches.

But he doesn't lack much in the motivation department.

Mullen played quarterback until his third year at Ursinus College, where he developed a knack for tactful motivation and leadership. Still, years later, he's not satisfied with his affinity for the skill.

"Great motivators, they can get through to anybody," Mullen said. "You've got a fine mix between kicking guys in the rear end sometimes to get them going and also putting your arm around them and hugging them and taking care of people that way," Mullen said.

It might be easier for the Gators to love Mullen than hate him. He smiles and will laugh almost as frequently, his wide-mouthed grin ameliorating any sour mood.

This motivator/warm personality could very well describe a high school football coach, and Mullen does not dispel the notion he coaches like one at times.

What's not high school, however, is Mullen's offensive expertise. He says football comes easy to him.

He can only hope quarterback Chris Leak and company will make the spread offense look that easy come fall.

Excitement, at least, Mullen can guarantee.

"Watch us. We're going to have a lot of fun and so are the kids," he said. "We have some phenomenal athletes, and as coaches we're going to find a way to get them the ball and let them go out and play an exciting style of football."

Changes in attitude

If and when Mullen ever gets a day off again, it wouldn't be hard guessing where he might go. Tempt him with some water and he'll be there before you can say hook and ladder.

"For me, if I have some free time and have some time off, I'm either sitting outside at the pool listening to Jimmy Buffet and barbecuing on the grill," Mullen said. "Or I'm trying to get to some beach or island somewhere."

Mullen grew up in New Hampshire, where he would water ski on Newfound Lake. In high school, he patrolled the Jersey shore as a lifeguard.

But when his whirlwind tour dropped him in Utah, he found his aquatic appetite difficult to satisfy.

"You didn't want to swim in (the Salt Lake)," Mullen said. "You had to swim in pools over there."

Now Mullen has plenty of pool, lake, ocean and even a Heisman hopeful quarterback to boot.

"I try to pattern myself after Jimmy Buffet as much as possible and live life like he does," said Mullen with a chuckle. "If I ever do it right maybe he'd be writing a song about me someday, and I'd be living the perfect life."

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