Florida Hires Dan Mullen To Be Gators’ Next Coach

(CNN)–Dan Mullen’s quest for a new head coaching job didn’t take long, as he agreed to lead the University of Florida’s football team Sunday.

Florida announced the hire after Brett McMurphy reported the Gators’ decision to hire Mullen.

“Megan and I are very excited to get back to Gainesville and the University of Florida,” Mullen said in the team release. “I have such great memories of the championships we won during our time here and have a love for Florida. 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.

Mullen has been a fixture in the SEC coaching ranks since 2005, when he was hired as the offensive coordinator at Florida for four seasons on Urban Meyer’s staff.

Mississippi State hired Mullen as its head coach in December 2008. He took over a program that had one winning season from 2001-08. The 45-year-old turned the Bulldogs around, leading them to eight straight bowl appearances and reaching No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 during the 2014 season.

Mullen agreed to a contract extension at Mississippi State earlier this year that would run through the 2021 season.

Despite his success, Mullen’s team often struggled against the top tier of the SEC. He went a combined 2-16 against Alabama and LSU.

After Mississippi State’s 31-28 loss against Mississippi on Nov. 23, Mullen was asked if was going to remain with the program in 2018.

“I’m happy with our administration,” he said (via Robbie Faulk of 247Sports). “The program we’ve built is pretty special. I’m fortunate to be the coach.”

Alas, he will not remain with the program after Florida came calling.

The Gators are traditionally one of the best programs in the SEC, but they went 4-7 this season and have more losing seasons (two) than 10-win campaigns (one) in the last five years.

It may not take them long to bounce back with Mullen at the helm since he is familiar with the conference and school from his time as offensive coordinator. He also has a fertile recruiting ground in-state to take advantage of in the coming years.