Former Florida football head coach Dan Mullen joined Sports Scene Tuesday to discuss the coaching environment in college football.
Possible Return to Coaching
Mullen was head coach of Florida football from 2018-2021 and had a successful tenure, winning the Gators’ last SEC Eastern Division title in 2020. Mullen has turned to a career in sports media since his departure at Florida, but at only 51 years old, he has not completely ruled out the possibility of returning to coaching. Mullen said for him to return to coaching, it would have to be a family decision.
Mullen, as well as other coaches around the industry, has stressed the devout nature of coaching at a high level. It takes an immense amount of time to be innovative and mix up the play calls every week. A coach needs to make sure opposing defenses are kept on their toes to be successful. Especially in the SEC, the competition is elite and the expectations are high for each team. To be a coach in the SEC means constant game planning to prepare for the next top-ranked opponent. He said the SEC is one of the trickier conferences in the country,
Changes in the Coaching Landscape
Over the last few years the strategy for recruitment in college football has changed dramatically. With the introduction of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deals for student athletes factor into the decisions of recruits. Instead of focusing on the project promised by the staff, the money becomes a strong factor in recruitment.
The transfer portal has also been an increasingly popular source of players. Looking at the landscape toward the top of the national rankings, multiple teams are led by transfers. Gators quarterback Graham Mertz is a major example. As a transfer quarterback from Wisconsin, Mertz has had an impressive first season for the Gators, throwing 18 touchdowns thus far. He said both NIL and the transfer portal has changed the game dramatically.
Future for Mullen
It would be a tough sell to get Mullen back into coaching with his contract as an analyst. He is making a significant amount of money with a lot more free time to spend with his family. If the time was right however, and Mullen saw the vision for a team’s success, it wouldn’t be surprising if he ended up back on the sideline.