GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Following a disappointing season marred by seven losses, offensive futility, and a tense coaching transition, the Florida Gators are moving forward with a new head coach.
Florida confirmed the hiring of Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen on Sunday evening.
Mullen returns to Gainesville following nine seasons in Starkville, where he compiled a 69-46 record. Prior to his time as Mississippi State, Mullen won two national championships as offensive coordinator for Florida under Urban Meyer from 2005-2008.
While at Mississippi State, Mullen established a relationship with athletic director Scott Stricklin, now the A.D. at Florida. Although Gators targeted Chip Kelly and Scott Frost in the coaching search first, Stricklin regards Mullen with high praise.
"I strongly believe Dan is the most prepared candidate to have immediate and long-term success at the University of Florida," Stricklin said in the official release. "Coach Mullen is one of the best offensive minds in all of college football, and has an unbelievable track record in tutoring successful quarterbacks."
Mullen's quality of developing quarterbacks is a strong selling point. Alex Smith at Utah, Chris Leak, Tim Tebow and Cam Newton at Florida, and Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald at Mississippi State have all thrived under Mullen's tutelage.
Although past statements from Mullen's wife, Megan, have cast doubt on the family's desire to return to Gainesville, Mullen is excited about the new opportunity.
"I have such great memories of the championships we won during our time here and have a love for Florida," Mullen said in the aforementioned release. "We are happy to be coming back to such a supportive administration, staff, student body and fan base, which is the premier football program in the country.
"We will give relentless effort in everything that we do on and off the field. Our commitment will match the passion that the Gator Nation has for this program."
No details on the contract are available yet.
Florida will officially introduce Mullen as head coach at a press conference Monday at 3 p.m. ET.