What they are saying about Florida coach Dan Mullen

Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen says hello to South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier during day one of the 2011 SEC Media Days at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama Wednesday, July 20, 2011. [File]

Special to Gatorsports.com


University of Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin announced that Dan Mullen will be the 27th head coach in Florida football history.

Athletics Director Scott Stricklin:

“I strongly believe Dan is the most prepared candidate to have immediate and long-term success at the University of Florida. Coach Mullen is one of the best offensive minds in all of college football, and has an unbelievable track record in tutoring successful quarterbacks (such as Alex Smith, Chris Leak, Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald). Coach Mullen will do a tremendous job in developing accountability and toughness through a well-coordinated strength and conditioning program. Dan will work closely with the coaching staff, academic advising staff and administrative team to give every student athlete he coaches the opportunity to grow and excel at a high level athletically, academically and socially.”


University of Florida President Dr. W. Kent Fuchs:

“I’m pleased with the approach and process that Scott Stricklin and his staff had in place for this search that landed us the best candidate to move our football program forward nationally. Coach Mullen has a very successful track record at Florida and the SEC, which includes his ability to develop student-athletes on and off the field at the highest level.”


1966 Heisman Trophy Winner & UAA Ambassador Steve Spurrier:

“The Gators are thrilled that Dan Mullen has accepted our offer to be the head coach at our University. With his background here with Urban Meyer and his success at Mississippi State, he is well prepared to turn the Gators back into a top-10 football program in the country. We all look forward to his arrival here in Gainesville and to welcome him back to Gator Nation.”


2007 Heisman Trophy Winner & Gator Great Tim Tebow:

“I love that Coach Mullen is someone who understands the culture of the University of Florida and has won two national championships here. Dan understands how to coach and mentor quarterbacks and build championship level expectations and deliver them both on and off the field. He will not only be a great coach for the players from an X’s and O’s standpoint, but as a mentor for all the young men in the program.”


1996 Heisman Trophy Winner & Gator Great Danny Wuerffel:

“All of us Gators love to not only win games, but have fun along the way. I’m confident Dan Mullen will quickly get us back on track on both fronts.”


Former Florida Quarterback & ESPN College Football Analyst Jesse Palmer:

“Having gotten to know Dan personally, and after covering him professionally I am confident that he is the right man for this job. His track record speaks for itself, as he’s been instrumental to UF’s past national championship pedigree and unprecedented success at Mississippi State. Dan is a natural leader who inspires his players to give their best both on and off the field. This is a great day for Gator Nation.”


Former Florida Wide Receiver David Nelson:

“I am beyond excited that Coach Mullen is returning to Gator Nation. The impact he had on our national championship seasons stretched far beyond the football field. He genuinely cares about his players – as athletes, students, and people. His offensive mind is unrivaled and his passion for the game is contagious to all those around him. Get ready… Championship Football is returning to the Swamp.”


Former Florida Defensive Lineman & ESPN College Football Analyst Kevin Carter:

“Dan Mullen is an excellent hire for the Gators. He will recruit both players and coaches well. His development of quarterbacks is as good as anyone in college football over the last 15 years. This is a solid move for the future of Florida Football.”


Former Florida Wide Receiver & SEC Network College Football Analyst Chris Doering:

“Dan Mullen is one of my top two or three current coaches in the Southeastern Conference. To be able to get a guy who has the combination of experience at the University of Florida along with a proven track record of winning within the conference, this is a great opportunity. I look forward to the Dan Mullen era beginning at Florida.”


ESPN College Football Analyst Kirk Herbstreit:

“Dan Mullen’s consistency and success in Starkville is a testament to his ability to evaluate talent, develop them, and put them in positions to win on Saturdays. This, along with his background in Gainesville with Championship teams, makes him a perfect fit for the Gators.”


  1. What else are they going to say? The first 3 quotes are all getting paid by U.F. And sorry Tim Tebow, but Dan Mullen didn’t win 2 National Championships here all by himself. He had a helluva’ a Gator ‘D’, and an unbelievable athlete in Percy Harvin, if we’re honest. I do wish him the best, as I am a born and raised ”Gainesvillian Reptilian” (shout out to Larry V). But I, personally, and sadly see U.G.A. winning the S.E.C. East now for a while now. All the while, Dan Mullen will bring the Florida Gators back to 2nd in the S.E.C. EAST. It’s an improvement to 4-7, no doubt!
    But sorry, ”championships are (not) coming soon”. In fact, they were NEVER won by Dan Mullen at M.S.U., and they were not won here in Hogtown without Urban, and Tim, and Percy, and Brandon Siler, and Hayden, and… my point’s made! Go Gators!

    • Who did you want for a coach? Didn’t get Kelly and it wasn’t their fault. They weren’t going to get Frost so who did you suggest? A lesson should be learned here that when you ask somebody, who you’re going to pay millions and millions of dollars, to be a Gator coach and he doesn’t say yes immediately, to move on immediately. New coach will do fine go Gators

      • Not sure getting Kelly wasn’t their fault.

        Regardless, this is a safe hire and one that should work out. Hopefully he brings in a real DC. I think he should keep Seider, Skipper, may be Rumph, everyone else needs to go.

        Biggest winner: UCLA (4). The Bruins won the Chip Kelly sweepstakes, beating out Florida to land the best coach available.
        Other winners: Nebraska (5). Another school that appears to have outmaneuvered Florida for the coach it wanted.
        Dan Mullen. He did great work for nine years at Mississippi State, and is rewarded with a Cadillac job.”
        ~Pat Forde.
        Notice, the University of Florida is not labeled as the ”winner” or ”rewarded”.
        No, Dan Mullen was, as he got the ”Caddillac job”.
        And that’s from a national analyst, and so-called college sports expert, Pat Forde
        Mullen will do a great job in some areas (Q.B.s and making them running Q.B.s, and making the U.F. big boosters happy in dining events and champagne highs), but don’t expect to win again in J’ville (U.G.A. game) for a quite a while. (If I’m wrong, Lord willing, I’ll be here to happily admit it, as I’ve loved U.F sports since I was born here in ’68). But mediocrity, ”it’s a hard habit to break”!

        • Kelly will leave UCLA for the NFL again…Mullen wanted to be here and will stay as long as we don’t run him off…How did the Gators do after Mullen left for MSU under Myer. If memory serves me the offense was lack luster to say the least. Might have something to do with Myers mystery heart condition. Losing all those players and the OC that work the magic

        • Chip Kelly Y’all really wanted to Chip Kelly a coach who couldn’t win the big game and does not like to recruit relies on flashing uniforms and things like that to get recruits I like the one we hired glad it was not chip Kelly

    • No disrespect, but it’s comments like that that would scare away most coaches. I don’t know who we think we are. We’ve been humbled the last few years and this season.That’s a good thing if we learn to not be arrogant. Dan Mullen was not my first choice because I didn’t think he’d want to come back. But he chose us, so I will accept him with open arms. Nothing is going to happen overnight. It took years to get to this point; it will take time to get back. And contrary to popular belief, this is all about the players, not the fans. Those guys have suffered more than any of us. It’s time we joined the players and became part of the team and rallied behind our new coach. Welcome back Coach Mullen!

    • Who the heck do you think helped recruit and coach up all that talent to Florida back in the day? Dan Mullen. And that is why former Florida players who played for him and were recruited by him are raving about him.

    • remember dan mullen was over the offense urban mostly work with special teams he called the plays to put harvin in position to do what he did remember the decline started when mullen took msu job urban was still there points and yards per game went down without mullen

  2. You’re right…recruiting must improve but why not embrace the change positively and see what happens. As for not winning titles at MSU who ever has, especially in the last decade? Winning nine games a year in Starkville is incredible.

  3. I am satisfied that after fan favorites Kelly and Frost came off the Board, Mullen is as fine a coach as was available. Time for the fanbase to simply get behind him and hope he can work a little magic in Titletown. We will get some indication quickly in recruiting, then in his selection of a starting qb, but mostly on the field next year. In the meantime – basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball.

  4. Mullen is a good hire. A Band Aid to stop the bleeding. Will Gators back on track. Will not be more than that. Scott Frost was The Coach to bring Championships to G’VILLE. Blew that with the dog and pony show for Kelly. Now trying to say that Frost turned them down because the job was to big is BS. Will give a wait and see attitude for now. Just don’t see a trip to a game next year right now. Now if he pull off hiring Mike Yurcich, Oka St for the Associate Head Coach/ OC/QB coach, that will be impressive. Watch the hires and recruiting in February. That will gauge where Gators true future is.
    Go Gators Go
    Skip, Tampa

    • The message I keep seeing is that Frost turned UF down because he has already decided to return home: Nebraska. Tom Osborne told him it is time to come home, and so that seems to be where he is going. This is not about being out-maneuvered by Nebraska; it’s about not being Frost’s home.

  5. Dan Mullen is a very good coach and a very good hire. He is a very innovative coach and will bring the fun and scoring back to Florida. I believe he will be very successful as Florida’s next head coach. He was very successful here as OC. Look what he was able to accomplish as HC at Miss. State. With the talent he will get at Florida, he should be able to bring championships back to Florida. Now he needs to recruit and get a good DC, but he should be able to do that here.

  6. Coach Mullen isn’t the splash hire that was expected, but is the most experienced and knows the state (recruiting), Gainesville, and the fan expectations better than anyone else. Hope his wife will come around, but no matter, as she doesn’t coach anything but was a t v golf commentator. Good luck, Coach Mullen.

  7. Mullen consistently won at MSU, and he got them to bowls year after year. That is amazing. Look back at MSU in the decades before Mullen and understand he had to compete for talent with not only Ole Miss, but Bama, Auburn and LSU. All he does is win, and he will now have more resources in a talent rich state.

  8. Mullen will get us to a bowl at year end. But he won’t be winning any championships anytime soon, like he didn’t at MSU. Maybe we’ll see some offense for the first time in forever. Mullen is a competent coach but he’s not a guy who can turn the program around on a dime like Frost. 69 wins, 46 losses, 60% winning percentage at MSU. Stricklin thinks this journeyman record is worth $7M a year; Mullen hasn’t sniffed a championship game since leaving Gainesville. I don’t have a lot of confidence in our AD’s decision making, but somewhat confident that 8-4 is achievable most years with Mullen. Not excited about this hire we needed better than this to pull us out of the muck of the last 9 years. We just missed a great opportunity to hire a great coach.

  9. Gator Nation should take comfort in hearing the opinion of our Heisman son Tim Tebow who was coached by and played for Coach Mullen. Tim’s unequivocal support for this hire should tell us all that we are on the right track. His testimony as to Coach Mullen’s skill sets and character is enough for me. Godspeed!

  10. Another average coach. Won’t beat Alabama until Saban retires, will be competitive against Georgia, still won’t be one of the SEC heavyweights. He was the best name out there besides Frosty and Lay’s Chips, but we were unable to land the two big names just like I predicted. We’ll be better, but we won’t be great and he won’t win any national titles let alone make it to the final four.

    • I read a lot of folks that will not be happy unless UF wins NC every year.

      NEWS FLASH! no one wins NC every year!
      Not Saban, Not Carroll, not Urban M, Not even SOS.

      Winning a NC has never happened at most schools.

      Anybody remember UF before SOS?
      How many conference championships did UF win before SOS? none!
      SOS left the first time because UF fans were never satisfied.

      Lets come back here in 5 years and confirm that Sabon, Kelly, Frost did not win 5 NC.
      Chances are Sabon will win one, and the other two none.
      That’s right Kelly and Frost will not win any NC in the next 5 years!!!!!

      With Mullin at HC we can expect to score points again.
      Expect to win most games again.
      Go to bowl game every year.

      UF glass is not half empty, it is very full.
      Let support UF and Mullin.

      Lets be happy that our team will be very good and see what happens from there.

      We have a dec 20 sign commitment coming , and it was very important that we have HC now.
      (not in feb)

      Our schedule is better next year (no non conf Mich or equal).

      You do know that if UF had scheduled two teams that UF could beat to start this season, then UF would be going to bowl game this year.

      I hope we never schedule non conf teams that can beat UF. That is so stupid!!!
      UF plays in the SEC and plays FSU. UF does that need anymore tough games.

      I see no reason Mullin can not lead UF to 9-3 every year.
      I for one would gladly take that.

  11. Kelly was never going to come here, but like everything else in life, you would never know for sure if you didn’t give it a shot. So Strilklin tried and it of course didn’t work out…..poor AD, can you imagine the ridicule he would take if he didn’t take one shot at Kelly? Those who are ridiculing him now for what ultimately happened, would be raining garbage on him for not at least trying. Too many UF fans have monday morning QB’s mentality. Oh, as to Frost, he would not commit either way til after his bowl game…….and UF loses most of the 2018 recruit class. My guess he was going to Nebraska anyway.

  12. Mrs. Mullen said she couldn’t understand all the Gator fans who complained because of what they perceived as low-scoring offense when the games were victories. In coach Mullen’s last year as OC at UF the margins of victory increased. Let’s hope that trend continues since Mullen still calls the plays. Many Gator fans dislike sitting on a lead. The offense totally fell apart after his departure, so I guess we should just be happy to get back to scoring again, period. But many of us still dream about the “fun ‘n gun.”

    • College football caught up with the “fun ‘n gun.” If you were paying attention, you saw that SOS ended up relying much more heavily on the run at USCe than he ever did at Florida. He had amazing success there, but he did it by adapting to a new reality.

      • Gator 67: If you recall, the thing about Spurrier is he was all about scoring, right up to the final whistle. The Fun ‘n Gun may be done (you say), but Gator fans were bred on airing it out. That’s the fun in the f&g, and we miss wide open offense.

        • My point is that SOS did not “air it out” at USC the way he did at UF. Yes, he still used the pass to a significant degree, but he also relied more heavily on the running game. For example, in 2014, the last full year SOS was there, USC ran the ball 479 times and passed it 468 times while scoring 32.6 points a game. MSU was averaging 36.9 points a game that same year, by the way. Of course, if you simply interested in watching a team pass, regardless of the outcome, then I guess scoring points on the ground won’t interest you since it’s boring. (You can find the stats on ESPN stats page for the SEC.)

          • garor67: Spurrier ran a balanced offense at Florida as well, although he tended to run it less in the first half. Spurrier had his QBs throw all over the field and wasn’t timid to throw from the red zone. He had a knack at isolating the weak defender and his receivers ran routes based on what the cover man did. That was fun football. A great offensive coach trains the opposing defense, using one play to set up the next. That’s fun to watch. He had overall better talent at UF too. Now, you see it anyway you wish. This is belaboring the point. Like I said, I hope Mullen’s offensive play calling will open things up. Wide open.

    • This was what she actually said:

      “It wasn’t if you won or lost. If we didn’t score 43 points or more, I was going to the grocery store in Orlando where I worked with the Golf Channel and I was driving the groceries back to Gainesville because it was that bad.”

      Nothing in that quote about a low scoring offense. More about not never being enough points scored. Mullen’s offense during his tenture as OC at Florida was ranked #1 in just about every offensive category, including points scored per game.

      • TampaGator: Are these high scores? 2005 vs: Tenn 16-7, LSU 17-21, Ga 14-10, SC 22-30. 2006: Tenn 21-20, Aub 17-27, Ga 21-14, Vandy 25-19, SC 17-16, FSU 21-14. 2007: Aub 17-20, LSU 24-28. There were high-scoring games in the mix. There were plenty of blow outs his final two years, but the earlier tight games caused many vocal fans to complain about conservative play calling. If you are right, and hope you are, he likes to take the choke out and open all barrells when calling plays. No trying to avoid losing, rather going all out to win.

        • Sorry. I see that you included other years now that I look more closely. Still some cherry-picking, though. Most of those games are against very good teams with strong defenses. You might also notice that in the 17-16 game against SC, the 16 was scored by the team coached by the author of the fun ‘n gun. And should I conclude that you were unhappy with the NC that year since there were so many close games?

          • I thought you were scoffing at the idea of Mullen having had low-scoring games. That’s why I showed there were actually a number of them. I also indicated that there were high scoring games in the mix. And I added that his last year was mostly blowouts. To cherry pick is to select evidence to support an argument while leaving out evidence. Right? What did I leave out? Let that last be a rhetorical question. I get that you are excited about Mullen. At first I was bummed because it seemed like we couldn’t get a big name Guru. I haven’t kept up with Miss St. Maybe Mullen will get us back in the top ten like Spurrier predicts. Sure hope so.

          • Well, it’s cherry-picking in the sense that you only generally acknowledge that there were exceptions during the years you cite (details on one hand, a general wave of the hand toward the data that don’t fit the narrative). You also note that the last two years were rather different than 2005-2007, but again only in very general terms. One could go back to the years of the fun ‘n gun and do the same sort of thing. It’s not like there weren’t any close or low-scoring games in those years. Some years there were more than others. One final point: I am not saying that I am excited about Mullen, though I do think he may end up doing a very good job, maybe a great one. But I think that I am more reacting to what strikes me as an over-emphasis on style points (not awarded in the game but pleasing to fans), as opposed to a focus on wins and losses. Winning is more fun than losing, even if in losing one scores 45 points. (Ask Arkansas.)

  13. Well said Jasper. We do have some delusional fans who think just because we’re UF any coach would rush to get here. Dream on “delusional fans”. Our AD made a major attempt to land CK but CK preferred west coast, big city and a conference that is not as tuff as the SEC. So stop your crying. Frost, is likely to go to Nebraska, and didn’t want to discuss anything till after next week. Again, had SS waited and missed out on SF, fans would hurl. We got a guy that will being a major upgrade but it’s going to take a bit to turn this train wreck around thanks to Mac. For anyone still bitching about who was picked as our HC, go root for another team.

  14. Dan Mullen is the hire that really in all reality should have been the first option. I believe, that his buy out was an issue. Strickland and staff went after Kelly but really….do we want a coach that said he didn’t like recruiting and that doesn’t gel with people, as he’s not a great communicator? I think we hit a home run with Coach Dan Mullen! The FUN N FLASH is about to bring the BASH! LET’S GO GATORS!!!! ORANGE!! BLUE!!!!

  15. For those still pining for Kelly or Frost, I would suggest that they were not really more solid bets than Mullen. Some analysts think that college football has caught up to Kelly’s system, so he might find the going more difficult in Westwood than he did when he was at Eugene. And Frost has a much shorter track record than Mullen. Remember, Muschamp went 11-1 one year, though admittedly in a much less impressive fashion. I wonder how Mullen would have fared if he had been coaching in the AAC with the same level of talent that Frost has. I wouldn’t be surprised if his record would have been as good. I’m not predicting anything, but it does seem pretty clear to me that Mullen has as much chance at success as the more sexy hires would have had. He has a longer track record and has accomplished more at MSU than anyone could have expected. I keep reading comments about his record there in comparison to the ten years prior. Don’t stop at ten years; look at MSU’s record going back to the 1950s. He has done an outstanding job at a place that was a perennial bottom-feeder.

  16. This was the best hire, period. And I don’t mean “the best available.” Chip Kelly won with other coaches’ players. Gone from Oregon is four years. Frost is the next new “shiny object” in the coaching universe. Maybe he’ll prove to be the real deal, or maybe not. I think that’s what everyone thought we were getting with Coach MAC.
    The biggest barrier to Mullen success will be fan idiocy. Look at the dumpster fire today known as U of Tennessee. If UF is as big a nameplate as we like to believe, there’s no reason we can’t compete and defeat Alabama. Auburn can. Are they a bigger name than UF?

    Gator Dad

  17. Really happy about this hire, was what I wanted waaay back after Meyer left didn’t think we’d even have a shot, welcome back Dan! On another note I see Dooley saying this past UF/FSU game being the lamest and just have to disagree, the stinkfest back in Muschamps first year I found even worse, that being the rather infamous 95 yards of offense by fsu and I dunno maybe 200 by UF. The most pathetic performance of football by anyone I have ever had the displeasure of seeing (in person too I might add).

  18. Love all the comments about how Mullen defintely won’t win any championships while Frost and Kelly were sure-fire championship caliber coaches. Frost is an unknown at this level… did he do anything that Mcelwein didn’t do against similarly inferior competition? How’d that work out? And Kelly? He’s 2-2 in bowl games, and that was before everyone caught up with his gimmick offense. Never mind the NCAA violations.

    Someone explain to me why Mullen can’t field a team capable of competing for a national championship. Real reasons, not woe is me whining about these surefire championship coaches our AD whiffed on.

  19. I’m good with hiring Mullen. Safe choice in all ways. This isn’t a big splash hire though. Only 1 (kelly) maybe 2 (frost) would checked that box. Mullen was no worse than 3 best. Recruiting will be everything on this hire.

  20. I wanted Kelly. I was WRONG. Mullen is OBVIOUSLY the best choice–best by far.

    Kelly was a bases-empty home run hire. Mullen is a bases-loaded triple. Kelly took a loaded Oregon program and kept it near or at the top of a very weak PAC 10. Mullen was the genius we wrongly believed Urban Meyer to be. MULLEN was the engineer of “Meyer’s” ingenious offenses at both Utah and Florida. Mullen got sick of Meyer getting all the credit (and money) for Mullen’s innovations and he left. When he left, Urban’s program started circling the drain almost immediately. Urban knows how to pick loaded programs the success for which he can take credit.

    It was also Mullen who produced Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott, Nick Fitzgerald, and even Cam Newton. Kelly? Not sure. Scott Frost was the architect and engineer of Kelly’s offenses and Kelly’s QB whisperer. When Frost left, so did the “Ws” for Oregon. Frost also did not follow Kelly to the NFL and what happened there?

    Mullen understands the SEC, knows exactly what is required to win in the nation’s most competitive conference. Kelly does not. Mullen took a perennial loser in Mississippi State and turned it into a very respectable program in the toughest division of the college game’s most competitive conference. Kelly has never done anything of the kind.

    Kelly may have been a PR “home run”, but the Mullen hire emptied the bases and will bring Florida AT LEAST one NC. I would not bet $5.00 that Kelly will ever win a championship. Mullen could be our coach for the next 12 years and win several NC’s.

    Good work team AD and Coach Mullen!

  21. Mullen is the perfect hire. Should have been hired years ago. Why would we think Frost would be successful. Previous success was awarded to Bielema,Jones,McElwain etc. How did they work out in the SEC. UCLA is the In-between lover for Kelly and the NFL (if they want him back) he would not have won here. He could not handle anything more than Oregon. Mullen is a proven SEC winner.

  22. Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
    Duke Blue Devils (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1987–1989)
    1987 Duke 5–6 2–5 7th
    1988 Duke 7–3–1 3–3–1 6th
    1989 Duke 8–4 6–1 T–1st L All-American
    Duke: 20–13–1 11–9–1

    Spurrier’s record at Duke before going to the Gators. Pretty sure the ACC in the 80s was not as tough as the SEC West in the last 10 years. He showed steady and quick improvement as an indicator of his upcoming tremendous success at UF. Who knows how it would look if he had 9 years? Mullens doesn’t look too bad in comparison and considering his conference and division. Let’s see how it goes. I’m excited!

  23. Finally a coach I like! I do believe if you give Mullen the quality and talent of the players that come to Florida because of the name, brand, school, facilities and fan base, that he will excel. He’s already proven that! Look what he did with Miss. State, where nobody really wants to go, and they have a tough time recruiting. Give him the Gator brand and look out.

  24. I for one never understood why Mullen wasn’t considered when Muschamp was hired. Mullen will turn this ship around, and I think it’s going to be fast. I believe we will have a vastly improved team next year, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. He will bring energy and creativity to a team that really needs it. I am sick to death of the fruit of the Saban tree, and welcome an entirely different approach to offensive football.