GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Introduced as the Head Coach of the Florida Gators football program, Dan Mullen said his teams would play with “relentless effort, every Saturday.
“We might not be the biggest or the fastest but we’ll play with relentless effort I can guarantee that,” Mullen said in front of the assembled media, staff and supporters in the Florida Room of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Mullen was contacted by UF AD Scott Stricklin last Friday to gauge his interest in the job. They talked more on Saturday and hammered out a deal by Saturday night. They talked again on Sunday morning and Mullen said, “I was more excited when I woke up than the night before,” and since he already had a missed call from Stricklin, Mullen accepted the job. His contract is for a reported $6M a year for six years, making him one of the highest paid college coaches in the country.
“We’re like the Yankees,” Stricklin said during his introduction. “We attract the best and the brightest. Dan is the most qualified candidate to lead this program.”
While talking about the spread offense he’ll run, how he loves to score points and the importance of offensive production to the Gator Nation, Mullen paid homage to former Gator Head Coach Steve Spurrier whom he said he idolized as a young coach.
“At Wagner I wore a visor just like Coach Spurrier,” Mullen revealed. “To watch him coach, to see that in the sunshine, I said, “What am I doing here in New Hampshire? This is a dream job.”
Mullen said he’d welcome Spurrier’s input and was already in his office earlier on Monday.
“I went up to his office and he had the computer open with game film up. We’ll have some great discussions. I love ball and he loves ball. I expect he’ll come to practice and ask ‘Now why are we doing that?’” Mullen said to laughter in the room. He also mentioned that former players around the program would be a “critical part of our success.”
Much has been made of the intensity of the scrutiny of the Head Coach at the University of Florida and his family. Mullen’s wife Megan was recently quoted about how she could barely go to Publix when Mullen was the offensive coordinator for the Gators without being accosted by Florida fans.
“I’ve been a head coach in the SEC,” Mullen said in response to a query about the intensity of the job in Gainesville. “I have a perfect understanding of the expectations here. The pressure on you and your family. I've been a Head Coach in the SEC. To plug the network, 'it just matters more." The passion in the SEC isn't unique to the University of Florida. But I understand the scrutiny you're under."
And regarding his wife’s comments?
"If Megan didn't pick Florida, we wouldn't be in Florida," Mullen said with a laugh.
It’ll be after the first of the year before Mullen completes his staff although he’s already recruiting for the Gators.
“We have an early signing date coming up so that’s important,” he noted. “Recruiting is the lifeblood of college football.
Mullen has a reputation of developing quarterbacks but says he doesn’t have a formula.
"If you look at the different quarterbacks I've had they're all different shapes and sizes. There's no prototype. It starts with mental and physical toughness. You have to be a tremendous leader," Mullen on said about his quarterback expectations.
"Processing information is critical. Intelligence is important. I don't want them to look over to the sideline. Throwing and running. Accuracy. Running is a bonus, it means you can improvise. In one word, winners."