clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Yep, Dan Mullen is the very early favorite on Florida’s coaching search list, but there’s a long way to go

New, comments

There are three important connections here already.

Mississippi State v Texas A&M Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen is the clear early favorite among Florida’s administration, per multiple sources.

1. Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin worked with Mullen for years at Mississippi State.

Stricklin didn’t hire him and has never hired a football coach, but he did see Mullen achieve MSU’s first two top-15 finishes since 1999 while fielding offensive talent like quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald.

2. He’s already contributed to two Florida national titles.

The 45-year-old previously worked at Florida under Urban Meyer. He was the Gators’ offensive coordinator for national championship winners in 2006 and 2008.

3. Mullen emerged as a factor in McElwain’s firing.

McElwain reportedly had a buyout of $13 million, but Florida negotiated with him to lower it. The Gators at least explored the idea of firing McElwain for cause after he implied he’d faced death threats this season, then declined to offer any evidence.

Brett McMurphy’s report on those negotiations turns up an interesting nugget. McMurphy says to expect McElwain to get as little as $4 million in buyout money. Emphasis added:

McElwain’s ability to dispute Florida over the buyout is hindered because of his agent Jimmy Sexton’s ties with potential candidates. Sexton doesn’t want to battle Florida over collecting the entire $12.9 million buyout because he also represents Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, a top candidate to replace McElwain, or could be involved in other future Florida hirings.

“Sexton won’t fight it because it’s not in his best long-term interest,” the source said.

If Florida saves money on firing McElwain, it should have more to invest in his replacement. That could wind up being Mullen, or any number of other coaches.

That Mullen’s agent has reportedly eased up on Florida during the McElwain exit negotiations suggests that Mullen’s camp is at least interested in exploring the UF job.

Mullen-to-Florida makes good sense as a rumor, given his success and his dual ties to the university and its current athletic director.